IT Solutions for Airport Management

Air Traffic TowerThe managers of major airports oversee staffing levels that rival the population of small towns. Drew Turney investigates the IT solutions that help them in their cause.

Queen Elizabeth officially opened London Heathrow’s terminal 5 on 27 March this year, for the exclusive use of British Airways. Barely two weeks later, over 500 flights had been cancelled and 28,000 bags had been left behind.

The result was a public relations nightmare for BA, with both the BBC and Sky News claiming they had been banned from filming – mountains of suitcases stacked up in the terminal after passengers were unable to reclaim them.

The chaos was blamed on glitches in the new terminal baggage handling system. Citibank analysts estimated only days after the problems began that BA could face costs of up to £25m from the backlog, including the expense of putting travellers up in hotels because of cancelled flights.

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