Reply To: Chaos at T5…now

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Bottom line is that LHR cannot be adequately provisioned for such a rare event; there is simply not enough space to accommodate more parked aircraft, and the cost-benefit for having more snow kit doesn’t stack up. The cost benefit should hopefully be re-examined, but I fear that even with more kit on the ground, LHR would still have suffered in recent days.

There are lessons to be learned, but you simply cannot provision fully for the most extreme and infrequent weather incidents. There is only so much that any Business Continuity plan can deliver, when you take into account the physical constraints of the site and the financial restrictions of provisioning for rare occurances.

To make a parallel in our own lives, do most UK based people have snow tires for their car? Probably not. You would be mad to keep a £1000 set of wheels in the garage for a once in a decade incident, and the likelihood is that when you did need them they would have perished and be useless.

Heathrow’s runways are open, it is the lack of space to park aircraft newly arriving aircraft and frozen stands which are causing the issues. BA has de-icing equipment (it does need a lot more!), but cannot carry this out or move planes because stands are snow-bound. All other airlines (and not just BA!) are in this same position.

BA took the right decision to stop flying on Saturday which has minimised the displacement disruption to those actually in transit on Friday evening. Many are stranded, but are at least at home or in a hotel.

Gatwick and London City are (for now) operating almost normally.

BA website is working fine for me….

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