1 November 2022, London Marriott Hotel County Hall
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
British Airways (BA) says the earliest date it will move the remainder of its long-haul Heathrow operations to Terminal 5 from T4 is 5 June.
”We”re working with BAA to organise a phased approach and haven”t finalised a plan yet, but in May there are two bank holidays and half term ” so to make sure there”s no impact on customers in that period, we”ll wait until June,” BA head of corporate sales Richard Tams told ABTN.
”Our prime concern is that we”re not taking steps back from the good operation now established at T5 ” we”ve been operating a full service since Tuesday [8 April] and we want to continue to give passengers that good service.”
Lessons have been learned from the carrier”s awry move to its new Heathrow home - ”The first day at T5 didn”t go how we would have liked and we want to deliver for customers this time.”
Around 40,000 passengers ” 60 flights ” will be affected by the later-than-planned move, originally slated for the end of April.
A number of airlines ” including one of BA”s main Heathrow competitors, bmi ” have reacted with outrage at news of the delay, which will have a knock-on effect as many carriers were scheduled to reshuffle at the airport.
But Tams said: ”Nobody wants Heathrow not to operate as best it can ” we hope they [other airlines] understand that”s why we have to do this. We wouldn”t want it to impact on the perception of Heathrow overall.”
Bmi”s CEO Nigel Turner complained of a complete lack of consultation following today”s (11 April) decision, but a spokesman for operator BAA told ABTN: ”In terms of bmi, it shouldn”t be materially affected by the announcement.
”We”re meeting with them [Heathrow carriers] this afternoon, and further discussions are scheduled next week with the airline community to look at the potential impact and looking at strategies to minimise and mitigate that.
”We still don”t know what the effect will be ” there”s a three-week window after 5 June, and aside from the work already started at T4, the airlines themselves have to do quite a lot of work around the terminals before they move ” we need to get our heads around those things, and see if there”s any way of compressing things [that refurbishment work] or making them happen simultaneously - that”s part of what we”re discussing.”
He said BAA has not been approached about compensation, but it would be discussed on an airline basis.
”We”re hoping the airport community as a whole will work through this together. What [BA CEO] Willie Walsh said is right ” it”s in nobody”s interest to see wide-scale disruption at Heathrow. We”ve learned a lot of lessons from T5, and we”ve got a lot more confidence through the terminal in the last four or five days as it”s been running really well. We now just need to get some consistency.”