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Terminal 5 opening a ‘national embarassment’, say MPs

The chaos following the opening of Heathrow Terminal 5 at the end of March caused “national embarassment”, according to a committee of MPs.

More than 500 flights were cancelled in the first days of Terminal 5’s operation and 23,000 bags missed departures in what turned into a PR disaster for British Airways and airport operator BAA.

In a report published today, the transport select committee of Parliament blames the debacle on BAA’s failure to complete the building on time, inadequate training of staff and poor cooperation between BAA and BA.

Interviewed by the committee, BA chief executive Willie Walsh conceded training was compromised following the late hand-over of the building, and BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said relations with BA had “deteriorated”.

At the time of Terminal 5’s opening, the report notes: “For baggage, it was still a building site.”

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