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Shades of Denver

April 8, 2008 0 Comments

The opening of Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport has not been without problems, to say the least. And one of the specific problems appears to be the automated baggage handling system:

…the computer-operated baggage system has crashed and luggage is now being sorted manually before being loaded on to planes.

Twelve return flights to short-haul destinations have been cancelled. . . .

In just over a week the £4.3 billion investment has seen an unimaginable series of PR catastrophes.

Around 19,000 lost bags had to be transported to Milan to be sorted, hundreds of flights have been cancelled, and thousands of furious passengers have sworn they will never fly BA again.

A lack of staff parking and faulty IT systems started the rapid descent into terminal chaos which has seen BA suffer a 5% fall in business class passengers and left it with a £16 million bill.

This, of course, will remind those of us who track such things on this side of the Atlantic of the 10-year failed effort by United Airlines to automate the baggage system at Denver International Airport. One can only hope that our British cousins get their problems solved and solved a bit quicker. ..bruce..

About the Author:

Webster is Principal and Founder at at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor for the BYU Computer Science Department. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at 303.502.4141 or at

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