Baggage-handling system glitch mars Heathrow's T5 opening

The opening of Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 has been overshadowed by technical problems with the baggage system.

The opening of Heathrow Airport's Terminal 5 has been overshadowed by technical problems with the baggage system.

A spokeswoman for airport owner BAA said British Airways ground-handling staff were experiencing problems with logging onto the system, resulting in delays for arriving passengers, who were left waiting for their bags.

The terminal opened at 4am today after being beset by problems yesterday, when BAA was forced to temporarily pull its biometrics fingerprinting system after the Information Commissioner raised concerns about its data protection implications.

BAA said it was working to correct the problem. "The problems with the baggage system affected a small number of flights this morning," said a spokeswoman. "Things are performing better now. There's been an impact on some services, but it will hopefully be resolved. We are waiting to see how things pan out."

British Airways hopes the new baggage system will improve its track record on baggage handling - currently the worst in Europe. BAA designed the system, which uses barcodes to track bags as they are moved around the airport.

The system was designed with Dutch company Vanderlande and IBM. The IBM software works out where the bags are supposed to be going, and logistics software works out the best way to get there.

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