Mark Bullock departs airport operator in wake of T5 opening fiasco but new boss will not start until September

Mark Bullock, chief executive of Heathrow Airport, has left BAA “with immediate effect”.

Bullock's departure comes less than a week after British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh blamed Terminal 5's recent disastrous opening on “delays in the building of the terminal.”

Bullock, who replaced Tony Douglas as Heathrow's chief executive in November 2006, was responsible for assuring “cost, time, quality and safety” at Terminal 5.

He will be replaced in September by Mike Brown, chief operating officer of London Underground. Terry Brown, BAA's airport services director, will take on Bullock's responsibilities in the interim.

Colin Matthews, BAA's chief executive, said: “Mark Bullock has made a significant contribution to BAA and to Heathrow Airport in particular and has led the airport through a particularly challenging period. I am grateful for his efforts.”

At a meeting of the UK government's transport select committee last week, Willie Walsh said British Airways had had to compromise on its testing regime as a consequence of delays to the construction work.