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Construction delays played part in problems at Heathrow's T5

Delays in the construction of Heathrow Terminal 5 were partly responsible for the baggage handling problems that occurred when the building opened, according to a report by MPs.

The report by the House of Commons Transport Committee concluded that training for baggage handlers at Terminal had been inadequate “as a consequence of delays in the building programme”.

“There was reduced time for several stakeholders including British Airways to conclude testing and training on vital equipment such as the baggage system, airbridge jetties and ground handling equipment”, the report said.

It added: “British Airways deferred by six weeks the commencement of the on-site familiarisation programme for its passenger service and ramp employees”.

A BAA statement acknowledged that the opening of Terminal 5 did not “live up to passengers expectations”.

It added: “We remain of the view that the close working relationship between BA and BAA in the first few days of the terminal's operation resolved problems quickly and helped to raise standards to the level passengers see today.

“We have also introduced a number of changes which reflect the lessons learned at T5 and the Committee acknowledges these positive steps and the changes that have brought them about within BAA”.