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by RAY FLEMING
WILLIE Walsh, Chief Executive of British Airways, saved everyone a lot of trouble when he said yesterday afternoon, “The buck stops with me.” On Thursday, when the full horror of the breakdown in handling baggage in Heathrow's state-of-the-art Terminal 5 became apparent, it was unclear whether the airline or the British Airports Authority was to blame. Earlier in the week Mr Walsh had boasted that the level of service in Terminal 5 would “put Heathrow back on the global travel map” and that customers would “love its space, comfort and convenience”. That's not what they were saying to the television cameras yesterday. In Mr Walsh's defence it can be said that previous prestige airport terminals have had teething troubles -- Hong Kong and Madrid come to mind -- but in a way it was the very predictability of the Terminal 5 debacle that was so depressing. Although the reason for the chaos has not yet been finally determined it seems that the inevitable dependence of the highest levels of technology on basic old-fashioned manhandling is at its core. Airline baggage comes in all sort of awkward sizes and shapes and still has to be physically dealt with by baggage handlers. It seems that BA's teams were given only a cursory preview of their new place of work and how to gain access to it although the airline claims that training has been underway for months. Something wrong, somewhere.