Reply To: LHR Snow Disruption – Jan 2010 Views

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Very often, news organisations collate clips of the news at this time of year and reflect on the 12 months gone.

I thought I would look back and see what BT posters were saying about winter weather disruption at Heathrow in January 2010.

“No, they do not have sufficient [deicing equipment] and given that the weather is the worst for 30 years you would not expect them to have”

“Sorry but why is it unacceptable thinking to spend millions of pounds on equipment that may be used to its full extent a few times every ten years? As Binman says its sound business sense. You have to think what you could use that money for instead and get value for it 365 days of the year not once in a blue moon.

Even farmers don’t buy expensive combine harvesters anymore, the hirer them in, why would they invest thousands of pounds on a bit of kit that sits rotting in a barn for 49 weeks of the year? Same applies”

“Heathrow may get snow once or twice a year and an event like we are having now is a once in 30 years. The costs to airlines may be £10 or £20 millions but the costs of investing in single deicing rig are £250,000 plus training and ongoing maintenance. Airlines and handling agents do invest in this equipment to cope with frosts and have strategies to deal with this. (BA ant ice overnight for example). But no matter how much they invested, the infrastructure of LHR; runways, ATC restrictions, lack of jetty served gates, etc would still cause problems.”

“How many times over the last 10 years has LHR been disrupted by snow? this year for a few days, and last year for a few days. I can’t recall (althought am happy to be corrected) any other snow cancellations for quite some time. Therefore, it obviously it would not have been a good investment to date.”

“As another poster pointed out, the issue is one of “opportunity cost”. Given that money is not unlimited, then what is the best use of it? Spending more on snow equipment for those few days every 10 years or so or more security, better ATC to get the aircraft up/down quicker etc. This debate is getting a bit silly, because people are assuming that money is endless, when in reality it is not. If you must argue that there should be snow equipment, then state that you are prepared to pay more for having this privelege, or that you are happy to trade off longer security queues or what ever you think should be traded off.”

And I will end with this briiliant analysis from our own, dear, VK

” London remains the busiest international airport in the world, processing 63 million people last year. While there are two US airports which are busier (Chicago and Atlanta) these are both significantly larger and also handle a much larger proportion of Domestic travellers than LHR. A few days of snow will hardly dent this, and is not significant in the scheme of things.

It seems the economists among us get it, others not so much….”

Well it seems the economists should perhaps pick up some shovels and start digging out 😉

Merry Xmas everyone.

When does the next batch of “worst weather in 30 years” strike?

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