Terminal Five is tried, tested and ready to go

Terminal Five is tried, tested and ready to go

The opening of world's most technologically advanced airport is two weeks away

British Airways (BA) and airport operator BAA are two weeks away from the opening of Heathrow’s Terminal Five (T5) after completing 260 IT projects.

Some 2,000 IT tests involving processes ranging from baggage handling to check-in have been carried out since April 2007 by BA’s information management testing and assurance teams.

The final advanced technology trial took place on 5 March, but parts of the IT structure will continue to be tested until the evening of 17 March.

“Our main goal was to minimise any negative impact caused by the change of systems,” said Tom Garside, head of T5 systems and integration at BAA.

“We wanted to reach a period of stability and have achieved that successfully. It is all tried, tested and ready to go.”

On 26 March at 11.45pm, the last BA plane will leave Terminal One. After that, there is a four-hour window to move all equipment to the new base.

Since starting the T5 technology plan six years ago, key milestones include the setup of the core network, completed in November 2006; implementation of operational software, which went live in September 2007; and the move of BA’s control centre to the new terminal in January this year.

The T5 technology is focused on self-service systems and the pre-flight experience, said BA chief information officer Paul Coby.

“It is about responding to customers’ needs,” he said. “The use of IT will speed people through check-in and security so they can spend more time airside working, relaxing, eating or shopping.”

T5 was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to address Heathrow’s IT needs and is a positive example of how two companies can work together to deliver a complex infrastructure, said BAA IT director Richard Rundle.