British Airways, the British Airports Authority and their IT suppliers have continued to pass the buck over the Terminal 5 baggage fiasco.
Inquiries by Computerworld UK to British Airways, airport operator BAA, and baggage system suppliers Vanderlande Industries, IBM and Alstec, either produced no meaningful comment on the systems or a reference to other parties.
BA said they were working better, though investigations were continuing as to the cause of the problems. “We’re operating at 87 percent capacity,” a spokesman said. “There’s no gaping wound.”
“We’ve cancelled 54 flights today, and routinely we’d cancel 35 to 36 on a cloudy day.” The spokesperson said BAA was responsible for the systems, and BA for their use by staff.
BAA would not provide immediate comment on the systems. Vanderlande Industries, which took part in the design and supply of the central baggage system, said all comments had to come from BAA. IBM, another supplier, referred us to Vanderlande, while Alstec did not return calls for comment.
Sopra, which designed a tracking system for the bags, said it was not responsible for the baggage handling process.
British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh has tried to explain the debacle. “From time to time problems have developed that were not encountered during the extensive trials. These issues are being addressed as they arise by a team of engineers and IT specialists from BAA and BA,” he said.
In Terminal 5, baggage is tagged with bar codes, instead of RFID tags, and the codes show passenger names and flight details. The high tech baggage system was heavily featured in Terminal Five’s pre-opening publicity, and was created through 400,000 man hours of software engineering.