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Apparently a big part of the problem are staff not showing up, using inability to travel as a reason/excuse.
Unfortunately demotivated workers are seldom prepared to make the effort and go the extra mile when they feel they are being attached to an inclined plane wrapped helically around an axis (screwed) by their employer.5 Feb 2012
Where I come from, the guys who drive the snowploughs keep them in their own sheds or driveways. Too easy?
And did BAA not partiallyt fund the Connnect service with the express (sic) extent of improving LHR access from the residential areas nearby? This remains the least-publicised rail route in London (since the North london was added to the tubemap) . Will someone from BAA tell us where the snowclearing eqpt is parked?6 Feb 2012
Just caught part of the LBC phone in with Nick F who was discussing the situation at Heathrow yesterday. I still don’t understand the need for 30% reduction in movements due to “increased spacing” between landings and take offs (I wasn’t flying yesterday, so I cant verify this statement).
What I did hear on the radio was ground staff complaining about frozen equipment and not enough volunteers available to shovel snow!
Nothing heard from BAA though on any of the news last night.6 Feb 2012
BAA have always been keen to publicise the fact that their snow fleet is now hundreds of vehicles in number, I recall when it was all of the news late last year.
Perhaps, it is a different part of that most hated organisation that cancelled 30% of the flights so far ahead?6 Feb 2012
Some estimates have it as 40% of flights cancelled.6 Feb 2012
This been going on for years now becoming a joke LHR, in 2010 I was on flight to From LHR to BUD that got canceled and my brother was at Gatwick to Lisbon that did not get canceled Gatwick was open and LHR was closed. My point is that there some think very wrong at LHR or with its owners. I want to point out that BUD had more snow than LHR and was fully working.
Snowploughs they have but do they have the drivers?
If they are running LHR at 99.4% some think like that so no room for delays maybe the need for third runway is needed?6 Feb 2012
Gatwick does have a second runway, but as it runs parallel to the first they cannot be used concurrently. However the benefits of this reserve runway really kicks in during these conditions
Whilst one is being cleared the other is being used, then swapped over. So clearance can always continue uninterrupted on one of the two runways.
LGW has spare runway capacity which LHR does not.6 Feb 2012
A friend who came in from OSL last night said it was one of her best ever experiences of LHR, landing to cab complete with a bag to collect was 28 minutes. She saw no signs of disruption other than upset people about their flights being cancelled. It sounds like the whole thing was overkill by the usual incompetant BAA team who failed to prepare yet again for the fact that being winter it will snow.6 Feb 2012
First off, from memory, I believe there was no snow falling and settling at LHR on any day in 2011, so the whole “snow falls every year” argument does sound a little bit weaker.
Secondly, didn’t OSL or one of the other Nordic airports have to close for a period of time last week due to the bad weather? Seems foolhardy to keep having a go at LHR, if those airports of virtue had to shut too.
And thidly, can someone clarify – did the report into the events of December 2010 not suggest that LHR take tactical, pre-emptive measures to keep the airport going, including reducing capacity in advance of potentially disruptive snow fall? Seems they took good steps to pre-warn passengers, work with airlines and tell people to stay at home (rather than be forced to wait in a terminal/tent) in advance of the bad weather.
Sure, LHR had to cancel flights, but I’m really struggling to understand what more you’d have had them do. (Point of reference, I live in North London, round the M25 from LHR, and we had non-stop snow from 1800GMT to after 0300GMT on Sat/Sun night).6 Feb 2012
Rich you do have a good point. I think they were l also lucky by the fact it wasn’t a peek period of travel either. Weather news are predicting the weather will continue as it has been (snow and freezing fog) for the rest of this month. So it will be interesting next week and the week after as that’s HALF TERM !!!! 🙂 xx6 Feb 2012
JordanD…you are correct, pre emptive action is required. The issue on this occasion was that that action did not start until Saturday afternoon…..by then it already too late. The snow fall was exactly as predicted and yet late on Saturday there was mayhem at LHR as they had to close the runways and consequently delayed the last wave of departures. As these are predominately ultra long haul and with many now also A380, de icing struggled as having completed for a number of aircraft, they then had to return again and again. BA in the end delayed the OZ services and SIN whilst QF were delayed until almost 5am.
The holding time for de icing in snow is very short and de icing on stand also restricts the use of stands. It is therefore essential that the programme is reduced and that the reductions are shared among all carriers.
In addition there is a need to have a central de icing point at LHR to reduce de icing on stand and carry out the function at a point just prior to departure. It does not have to be a permanent set up and could be put in place during high risk months.
The cancellation programme needs to kick in 36-72 hours in advance to allow for airlines to rebook and manage their operations and customer expectations. Friends who flew in from NCE on Sunday report that the flight was empty, but that LHR T5 looked like a refugee camp with so many transfer passengers stuck.
Airlines would perhaps be more willing to cancel if they did not have the non use of the slot count against them on the 80/20 rule.
What is so telling about this farce is that BAA have kept a very low profile ad have at least stopped saying how well it has all gone. It did not go well it was a disaster, albeit not to the same scale as 2010.
LGW and STN both operated near normal ops and demonstrates the benefit of planning investment and a change of ownership.6 Feb 2012