British Airways CEO Willie Walsh has taken responsibility for the baggage handling problems that plagued the opening of Heathrow’s new Terminal Five.
Around 125 people are still waiting for their luggage to be returned after the opening day problems on March 25 2008, which left hundreds of travellers stuck without a flight.
Walsh told MPs on the Commons Transport Committee: "People have spoken of Terminal Five as a national embarrassment. If we were to be honest, Heathrow has been a national embarrassment for many years.
"We believed that Terminal Five was ready to open and we believed we had prepared sufficiently. With the benefit of hindsight, it was clear we made some mistakes."
Walsh mentioned delays in the construction of the Terminal as the reason his staff were not able to get the necessary training, though extensive tests were completed on the advanced baggage system, which is able to handle thousands of bags per hour.
However, Walsh also reiterated that the terminal will be used by BA for the next 40 years, and said he hoped the debacle of the first few days would not tarnish the future reputation of the technologically advanced construction.
Walsh added: “We didn't supply staff with sufficient training and familiarisation. If we did it again, we would do things differently."
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