New Heathrow Terminal: More than Tech

The soon-to-be-unveiled addition to the British airport will be technologically complex, but also a great place to fly to and from

British Airways' tech chief Paul Coby has explained some of the IT challenges behind Heathrow's soon-to-be-unveiled Terminal 5.

Due to open on 27 March, Terminal 5 is the new home of British Airways at Heathrow and has been jointly developed with Heathrow owner and operator, BAA.

But despite being billed as the most technologically advanced airport terminal in the world, T5's tech team found IT was only part of the challenge.

Speaking at the British Airways HQ at Heathrow, BA CIO Paul Coby, said: "What we're doing is putting in technology to run this complex environment as simply and easily as possible. This is not an IT project, it's a business transformation project."

He added that in developing T5's IT, the team had to remember that the systems being put in place will be used by the majority of staff every day so should be easy to use and help streamline processes.

He said: "BA spends a lot of time familiarising people with the new environment. Our whole philosophy is [T5] has to be a great place to fly from and to work in."

Coby explained that members of staff were closely consulted to define processes to be simple and more efficient, while also ramping up customer service.

He said: "27 March is about putting proven technology and proven systems in a new building. All the processes have been put in the rest of the airport. We've done everything to de-risk and get ready for the opening on 27 March."

Glenn Morgan, T5 information management programme head, agreed the biggest technology challenge was defining staff and passenger processes to make sure T5 represents a significant improvement on the airport terminals that have gone before.

Morgan added the technology side has been relatively simple. He said: "IT is really quite easy to deliver."

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.