British Airways CIO Paul Coby used his key note speech to the Forrester IT Forum in Lisbon today to apologise for the business mistakes made in the airline's move into Heathrow Terminal 5 in March, 2008.
Coby opened the event with a discussion on the role of the CIO and IT in business, and made no attempt to hide the difficulties his organisation has faced this year, and in particular his department.
“We do make mistakes. T5 is probably at the front of your minds,” he said opening his session. “I’d like to say I’m very sorry, I was there, I am part of it [the problems], it was a tough experience for customer and a tough experience for us, “ he said.
“We have learnt lessons from T5 and those lessons include being prepared,” he said, but did not go into a detailed discussion of the issues around system development.
The publicity ahead of the T5 opening, in which Coby played a part, was blamed. “We talked it up to much; we should have talked it down.” He also admitted BA should have soft launched and he said last Thursday’s move of some additional arrivals and departures into T5 went “pretty smoothly”.
Coby admitted that his department should have carried out more training and formalisation, especially for the new baggage handling system. “Do as much training and formalisation as you think you need, then triple it,” he said.
“We have to admit we did serious damage to our reputation,” he said of the debacle.