BA says sorting and delivery by Italian courier firm will be quicker for some baggage than waiting for space on flights from Heathrow

BA is sending thousands of bags to Milan to help clear the huge backlog that is interfering with operations at T5, where flights are still being cancelled today.

Around 19,000 bags remain to be checked, sorted and returned to their owners, following problems with the baggage-handling system that have plagued T5 since its glitzy launch last week. Over 400 flights have been cancelled since the terminal opened.

Some 10% of the baggage backlog is being transported 600 miles by lorry to Milan to be sorted and driven on to their destinations by a Milan courier firm. BA said that for some bags destined for home or holiday addresses in mainland Europe this would be quicker than waiting for space on flights leaving Heathrow.

Other luggage will be flown to destinations in mainland Europe near to where the owners are staying, while bags belonging to people in the UK are being sorted at Heathrow and other UK airports.

More than 400 volunteer staff have been working to help clear the backlog.

BA said it hopes that 92% of flights will be operating normally by tomorrow.