The opening day problems at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 (T5) were largely down to a lack of staff familiarisation with new facilities and processes, rather than technology issues – according to British Airways’ CEO, Willie Walsh. Walsh has made it clear that building work delays caused the airline to compromise its staff familiarisation programme. Walsh, who, in May, was being quizzed by the parliamentary Transport Committee which is looking into the opening day chaos and subsequent problems at the terminal, said: “My regret is that we did compromise on the testing programme. Our staff weren’t as familiar as they should have been and that impacted on their performance. If I was to do that again, I would not compromise on that testing and familiarisation.”


He added: “If I was to pick on one issue which I would address if we did it again, it would be [lack of staff familiarisation]. I think that’s a lesson we should have recognised at the time and certainly recognise now.”


Comment: Finally ‘training’ comes to the fore in a business context – and then it’s in a negative way. I wonder who are the relatively few companies that supply learning materials to British Airways? One or two of these have been keen to use the British Airways’ name as an endorsement in the past. Will they hold their hands up now?