British Airways operations director Gareth Kirkwood is to leave the airline following its chaotic move to London Heathrow Terminal 5, as the carrier admits it might not complete its transfer of services to the new building until October.

In a curt statement the carrier says that customer services director David Noyes is also to leave. BA says it will appoint a chief operations officer to combine the two roles.

BA management team has been under pressure in the wake of the fiasco that accompanied the opening of Terminal 5 on 27 March. The carrier was forced to cancel dozens of flights and deal with thousands of misplaced items of luggage.

Pilots had called on shareholders to hold BA’s management team accountable for the debacle and yesterday BA chairman Martin Broughton met with one of the airline’s largest investors to discuss the matter.

“The departures [of Kirkwood and Noyes] follow the airline’s move to Terminal 5,” says the carrier.

BA says that the shift to Terminal 5 could take until October if the process is over-complicated by the peak summer traffic demand and prolonged resolution of operational issues.

The carrier has already opted to postpone the planned 30 April shift of remaining services from Terminal 4 – some 120 long-haul flights – until at least June.

“It’s possible it could take until October,” says a spokeswoman for the airline. “We have the very busy summer period coming up. We’re still working through the details but it’s very complicated.”

BA has been operating a full schedule of Terminal 5 flights for about a week after the airline and Heathrow operator BAA brought the initial operating problems under control.

Source: flightglobal's sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news

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