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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
Heathrow is 'struggling' to cope
Heathrow airport
British Airways says the opening of Terminal 5 will improve things
Heathrow Airport is "struggling" to cope with passenger numbers and increased security regulations, Britain's largest airline has told MPs.

British Airways (BA) told the Commons Transport Committee that the country's largest airport is effectively full and unable to manage in emergencies.

BA representatives said the only relief would come when the new Terminal 5 opens in March 2008.

The hearing was part of an inquiry into passengers' experiences of air travel.

Common standards

British Airways ground operations director Geoff Want said: "Heathrow is struggling and the only real relief will come when the new Terminal 5 opens.

"Is there a plan in place to make Heathrow better than last year? Not really."

He also said there was still confusion about EU baggage rules and called for common standards on hand luggage.

For example, the UK only allows British passengers to carry one piece of hand luggage but people travelling to the UK from Europe have no such restriction.

BA and the other three airlines giving evidence today - Virgin Atlantic, Easyjet and Flybe - all said they supported a break-up of airport operator BAA's monopoly of some UK airports.

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