After an IT fault created chaos in BA’s Heathrow Terminal 5, systems are running as normal…. except for a massive backlog
After four days of chaos, Heathrow Airport says it has fixed the IT problem which disabled its baggage handling. But it will take days to re-unite thousands of travellers round the world with their lost luggage.
A fault described as a “computer glitch” hit the baggage handling system on Thursday, which caused the conveyer belt systems to fail and left staff handling luggage manually. This produced a colossal backlog, and many flights left over the weekend left the airport without their hold luggage. The airport authorities say the problem is now fixed, although its official statement says it will take several days to sort out the resulting mess.
“We are very sorry for the disruption caused to passengers and we are working round the clock with airlines to reunite passengers with their bags as quickly as possible,” said the Heathrow press office.
The airport described the fault as “intermittent”, and repeated a suggestion that passengers might want to carry essentials onto the plane to be on the safe side: “While passengers can currently check-in bags as normal, you may wish to carry essential items in hand baggage where possible.”
The normal rules for items in hand luggage still apply, and there were no special rules to allow extra items on board.
Heathrow is not giving any details of the nature of the IT problem that broke the T5 baggage system. The system was designed and installed by Vanderlande of the Netherlands, whose site proudly proclaims “Vanderlande Industries was fully responsible for design, software development, manufacturing, installation, commissioning and integration of this baggage handling system”.
Contacted by TechWeek, Vanderlande declined to give any information about the problem, referring us to Heathrow.