30 March 2008

T5 Showplace or Shambles

"not our finest hour" was Willy Walsh's comment on day 2. However we are now well into Day 3 and things are still not good. A further 54 flights are already cancelled on Monday and disruption will continue into Tuesday at least.

The problem? baggage system and processes.

It seems BA has not learned from the debacle at DIA when that opened over 10 years ago. However there is a subtle difference. At DIA the amount of cross flow bags connecting is actually significantly lower than at LHR. 1 Cabin bag and longer trips means more luggage. BA has also not learned from its own baggage woes of the past 3 years. The unions have bleated long and hard about BA's baggage practices including the outsourcing of a significant part or the baggage process at LHR prior to the move.

This shambles has lasting consequences for BA, BAA and the Transatlantic traffic flows in general. BA has been losing feed at LHR, other airlines are making better connection hubs at AMS, CGD, FRA, MUC, MAD etc. BA's financials will take a big hit from this debacle. Not least of which is the 10,000 Euro fine PER PASSENGER that will be levied for incorrect information passed to customers on Day 1. Couple that with a minimum of 200 Euros per passenger disrupted and the numbers are going to be staggering in compensation. The current rate of chaos means that BA has already lost effectively one day of out its schedule. (Thus this will again be a 365 day year not a leap year for the airline).


But wait. It gets better. BA has been able to borrow T4 this week when they moved into T5. No more. Delta, Continental and Northwest all move over there today with their start of operations. Given that T4's baggage system broke down 3 weeks ago, this is not going to be pretty.

Someone needs to be severely spanked for this bad behavior. It was preventable.

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