updated 4/3/2008 1:18:04 PM ET 2008-04-03T17:18:04

British Airways said Thursday it hopes to operate a full flight schedule over the weekend for the first time since the disastrous opening of its new Heathrow terminal last week.

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The airline has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights to take pressure off the overloaded baggage handling systems in its new Terminal 5 building.

British Airways, the terminal's sole occupant, said it was confident it could operate all planned flights into and out of Heathrow on Saturday.

The airline canceled 32 flights on Thursday, bringing to 431 the total number of flights since the terminal opened on March 28, a spokesman said on condition of anonymity. More than 28,000 bags have been separated from passengers after flights departed with no baggage on board.

The airline said 10 percent of the misplaced bags, which were destined for European cities, have been sent to a processing center in Milan, Italy, to be sorted and returned to their owners. Some of the bags intended for domestic destinations were sent to other airports across Britain.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh has apologized repeatedly for the problems. The British Chambers of Commerce has called Terminal 5's opening "a public relations disaster."

Ironically, the flashy new BA terminal was aimed at easing congestion and brightening up the image of Heathrow Airport, an aging hub of four other terminals.

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