British Airways says IT system not at fault for T5 bag losses

LONDON – British Airways has said its high tech baggage system is not at fault for nearly a thousand bags being delayed daily in the system at Heathrow Terminal 5.

Instead it blamed other airlines interconnecting with it for giving it the bags “too late” to load onto BA flights at the terminal. The claim follows a House of Commons select committee meeting in which baggage handlers’ unions said 932 bags are still going missing each day at the terminal, because of the baggage system and handling procedures.

The unions also said they had alerted BA to problems with the system before the terminal’s disastrous opening in March, but that BA had not taken action.

BA’s much-touted baggage system was created through 400,000 hours of software engineering and built by Vanderlande Industries, Alstec and IBM. The airline said the problem of missing or delayed bags was not with the IT system.

“The problem is misconnecting bags. They’re not lost in the system,” a BA spokesperson told Computerworld UK. “The majority are from other airlines, and they’re not delivered to us in time.”

The spokesperson added the baggage system was “still bedding in” but punctuality and baggage handling in Terminal 5 are superior to other Heathrow terminals, he added. Nevertheless last month, Paul Coby, BA’s chief information officer, said the airline had learnt the lesson that it needed to be more prepared before using major new technology.

BA is the sole tenant at Terminal 5. BAA, the Heathrow airport operator, declined to comment on the baggage issue.

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