Thousands hit by fresh problems at new Heathrow terminal

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Terminal 5 faces a second day of chaos on Friday with further delays, cancellations and lost luggage

28 March 2008

LONDON - Thousands of travellers using Heathrow airport's brand new Terminal 5 face a second day of chaos on Friday, with further delays, cancellations and lost luggage.

British Airways (BA), the only airline to use the ultra-modern new terminal, said it planned to operate 80 percent of flights despite experiencing massive problems with its baggage-handling system.

Of the 20 percent of flights that were cancelled on Friday morning, all of them were domestic or short-haul European flights, a spokesman said. All long-haul flights would operate, he said.

Passengers have been advised to check on the internet ahead of their flights to see if they have been cancelled.

Thousands of travellers were affected by the chaos on Thursday when the CHF 8.6 billion (GBP 4.3 billion) sparkling glass-and- steel terminal opened to the public for the first time.

Many were put up in hotels in London overnight while others roughed it on benches and the floor of the airport.

The opposition lawmaker responsible for transport issues, David Wilshire, said it wasn't clear whether BA or the airport authority, BAA, was responsible for the part-failure of the baggage system and the resulting chaos.

BAA said in a statement that it had given the airline a fully functioning terminal.

BA said there was a series of problems, including the late arrival of staff due to delays at the staff car park and security checks.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

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