British Airways has announced it’s postponing moving most of its long-haul flights to Heathrow Terminal 5 (T5).
BA had hoped to transfer almost its entire long-haul operation from Heathrow Terminal 4 (T4) to the new £4.3 billion terminal on 30 April.
But the airline and Heathrow operator BAA said the move was being put back to June, with BA chief executive Willie Walsh adding that the earliest date for the transfer would be 5 June.
T5 opened for flights last month but was immediately hit by baggage delays, luggage-belt failures and numerous cancelled and delayed flights.
Mr Walsh said today that a quarter of the misplaced bags were still not back with their owners.
In a joint statement today, BA and BAA said: ‘While a normal flight schedule has operated at T5 since Tuesday, we want to ensure customers can be confident of high service standards when additional flights are introduced.
‘We will work together to iron out any remaining problems, including the baggage system and its operation, and develop a robust timescale for phasing the move of T4 services into T5.’
Mr Walsh said: ‘We are making this decision in the interests of customers. Though T5 is now working well, we need to have confidence that good service can be maintained when the terminal is handling larger numbers of customers.
‘It is only sensible to ensure that T5 is operating consistently at a high standard before the move begins.’
Under the original plans, the only BA long-haul flights which would have remained at T4 after 30 April were services to Bangkok, Singapore and Sydney.
The April 30 transfer would have allowed BAA to continue its refurbishment of T4 ahead of the transfer there of services by other Heathrow carriers – including Air France and Alitalia – in the period from this autumn to next February.