Heathrow’s Terminal 5 is to become the exclusive home of British Airways as the airline tries to consolidate its operations to address a staffing shortage that shows no signs of abating any time soon.
Although Terminal 5 was designed and built for the sole use of British Airways, the airline quickly outgrew what is Heathrow’s largest terminal and some services are operated out of Terminal 3.
British Airways now wants to move many of its Terminal 3 flights back to Terminal 5 but it has been constrained by the fact that flights operated by fellow IAG airline Iberia have been based out of Terminal 5 for a number of years.
And even more airlines moved into Terminal 5 during the pandemic after Heathrow shuttered two of its terminals due to a lack of demand. Most of those airlines, including Qatar Airways, have now moved out but American Airlines still operates some services from Terminal 5.
In order to make room, both Iberia and American Airlines will now move out of Terminal 5 and the terminal will become the exclusive home of British Airways – as it was originally designed.
Sources claim the main reason for the switch is so that British Airways can consolidate ground handling staffing at Terminal 5 rather than splitting scarce resources between two terminals.
Unfortunately, even with Iberia and American Airlines out of Terminal 5, there still isn’t enough room for all of BA’s flights to operate out of Terminal 5 so some will continue to operate out of Terminal 3 but with a skeleton staffing.
Long-haul flights set to return to Terminal 5 include Accra, Austin, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix and Sau Paulo. Around 16 short-haul routes will also return to Terminal 5 including Budapest, Marseille and Valencia.
Last week, British Airways chief executive Sean Doyle admitted that the airline would be forced to axe more flights over the coming months due to ongoing staff shortages.
The decision to slash the airline’s schedule came after the UK government announced a slot ‘amnesty’ which allows carriers to forego takeoff and landing slots without penalty.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.