IT experts have been called in to address the problems with the baggage system at Heathrow's Terminal 5.
They have been working on technical glitches while hundreds of volunteers work to clear a huge backlog of baggage. The IT problems began last Thursday when Heathrow's Terminal 5 opened and baggage-handlers experienced logging-in problems. By Friday, a fifth of flights had been cancelled and bags were being processed manually.
British Airways (BA) said "a large number" of IT staff from BA, airport owners the British Airports Authority (BAA) and BAA sub-contractors were working on correcting the problems with the system. BAA were unable to say at this stage exactly what the technical problems were and both companies said they were unsure how long it would take IT staff to complete their work. The system they were working on is a 2D barcode system designed by BAA with IBM and Dutch company Vanderlande.
A BA spokesperson said, "they will be there for as long as necessary. Our key focus at the moment is on the misplaced bags".
Fifty out of 392 short haul flights were cancelled on Tuesday 1 April at the terminal, meaning 87% of services are running normally. The airline is decreasing the number of services it cancels each day, with plans to operate 92% of the flight programme by Thursday 3 April. Most long haul flights are still leaving from terminal 4 and plans to move them to terminal 5 on 30 April are unaffected, BA said.
The airline said on its website, "due to the disruption to the baggage system in Terminal 5 on Thursday 27 March it may take us several days to process baggage as we have to process each bag manually.
"We understand how frustrating this is. We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused.
"The move to terminal 5 is one of the biggest and most complex airport moves ever undertaken. We are working hard, together with airport operator BAA, to resolve the issues as quickly as possible."