BA to start Terminal 5 public trials

British Airways said today it is continuing to trial all the new systems and processes required to ensure that Heathrow Terminal 5 hits its opening date of 27 March 2008.

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British Airways said today it is continuing to trial all the new systems and processes required to ensure that Heathrow Terminal 5 hits its opening date of 27 March 2008. It said it still expects the terminal to open on time and on budget.

The airline, which was announcing first half pre-tax profits of £593m, said its “exhaustive” six-month trial was going well and its first major public trials would begin this weekend.

BA said its other key focus at the moment is on punctuality and baggage-handling times, which will continue to be a challenge until it moves completely to the new terminal since other facilities were “old and overstretched”.

And it said that driving efficiencies across its business to deliver a 10% operating margin by March 2008 was still on track.

The airline spent £300m in the six months to 30 September on IT, accommodation and ground equipment, fractionally down on the same period last year.

Terminal 5 has cost BA and the British Airports Authority £4.3bn to build and outfit. BA says around £75m of these costs are for technology, while BAA invested at least another £175m in IT systems.

The work has involved 180 IT suppliers and seen 163 IT systems installed.

Nick Gaines, director of business critical systems and IT, said recently that an essential part of the IT challenge in the new terminal was "safeguarding for the future" by ensuring the technology used was appropriate for many years to come, with "space to keep technology options open".

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