British Airways boss Willie Walsh admitted today in the House of Commons that with hindsight he would not have gone ahead with the opening of Terminal 5 on March 27.
The BA chief executive told the Commons Transport Select Committee: “I regret not postponing it now, but I believed the opening would be successful.”
Walsh admitted he was aware of problems in the run-up to the opening and this had led BA and airport operator BAA to scale back the opening.
“The original plan was to move all operations in one go, ” Walsh told the MPs.
In the event, BA moved only its short-haul flights at the end of March. It has since postponed the switch of long-haul operations from April to June and beyond.
Walsh also admitted staff training had been inadequate. “The training regime was compromised because of delays in completing the building, ” he said.
“We did not provide sufficient familiarisation and I regret we put our people in that position.”
He insisted a combination of factors led to chaos over three days following the opening, with hundreds of flights cancelled, others delayed and more than 23,000 bags misplaced.