British Airways may not complete its move to Heathrow’s Terminal 5 until October following the chaos that marked its opening.
Chief executive Willie Walsh has admitted the transfer of about 120 long-haul flights could be delayed much longer than the June deadline announced last week.
BA had originally planned to complete the move at the end of this month, but last week announced a delay until after June 5, sparking fury among rival airlines. More than 50 carriers are waiting to switch terminals at Heathrow after BA completes its move, leading BMI to accuse BA of mismanagement.
BA has so far moved only its domestic and European flights to Terminal 5. These constitute a majority of its services, but carry less than half its passengers. The carrier fears fresh chaos when larger numbers of passengers and bags make the switch.
The carrier had still to return 5,000 bags to clients this week following the disruption on the opening day on March 27. It insists services from the terminal are now operating normally after having to cancel more than 500 flights in the first two weeks.
Heathrow operator BAA can expect a stormy reception when it meets representatives of up to 54 airlines that operate from the airport on Wednesday.