British Airways has said that the disruptions affecting the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport should have abated by next week.

Last weeks opening of the new terminal quickly descended into chaos as tens of thousands of passengers bags went missing and hundreds of flights were cancelled. So far the disruptions have cost British Airways about £16 million.

British Airways said that the disruption had most affected its short-haul flights as long-haul flights are not due to begin from Terminal 5 until 30 April.

The company also released statistics for passenger numbers on Thursday, reporting a 2.8 per cent drop in traffic in March, a 5.0 per cent fall in premium traffic and a 2.3 per cent drop in non- premium traffic.

The company said passenger numbers to Africa and the Middle East had fallen 5.7 per cent and passenger numbers to Asia Pacific has dropped by 6.0 per cent.

British Airways said its load factor (number of bought seats as a proportion of available seats) had dropped 0.9 per cent on last year down to 75.4 per cent.