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Binman I agree with most of what you have said except for Stanstead, which is still BAA owned/managed. I am surprised that all airlines which run at LHR didn’t also foresee what was going to happen and on prior knowledge of how BAA runs LHR didn’t give the passengers the option to go through with rebooking/cancelling flights. Xx6 Feb 2012
“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.”
All airports will close in heavy snow.
It is the amount of disruption and the recovery from it that separates the good operations from the others.
Also, it is disingenuous to say no snow fell in 2011, since there were two huge drops in December 2010. The winter season 2010-11 was therefore disrupted severely and the winter season 2011-12 has now also been disrupted.6 Feb 2012
LHR didn’t have heavy snow! Most of the snow was nothing but slush! Surely firing up a jet will melt a little bit of snow quickly. If they have plains taking off and landing every minute I can’t understand why the runways would have snow on it with time to settle. My bf has a rear wheel drive car with low profile tires and even that cut through the snow! xx6 Feb 2012
Anyone know how the £32 or 50 million was spent by BAA to cover the snow problems.?
If Roger Victor is about, would appreciate his perspective from Heathrow ATC.6 Feb 2012
A spokesman [unnamed source through Sky News] said
“By cancelling flights in advance, airlines have been able to rebook some people on to flights that are departing, and passengers have had better quality information about whether they can fly or not.”
…. irrelevant though of whether the weather, actually warranted the cancellations!!!
So now we know….6 Feb 2012
All day we had the BBC saying around 4″ of snow but in the end it was under 2″. So may be there was an overreaction. My interest is what caused the delays? Was it clearing snow from runways and taxiways or was it deicing time (equipment and training) was it icing making ancillary vehicles difficult to use, was it staff not turning up due to raod or public transport problems? Often it is access to the airport that causes cancellations rather than airport problems. Airlines have crews arriving as late as possible so they get the maximum time on the clock in case of delays. SO if there is a weather problem then you can have no crew.6 Feb 2012
When I arrived yesterday morning the ground at LHR was almost all clear and no snow fell after I arrived.
De-icing is a continuing problem at LHR and given the need to de-ice is far more regular than the need to deal with snow, there is no excuse for the lack of de-icing facilities.
There is no reason why they can’t have a gantry system on the taxi ways where fluid is sprayed, collected and reused as happens in sensible places like MUC.
Compared to the delays the cost of installing gantries must be minimal but of course when you need to invest more in your shops providing suitable de-icing facilities is probably a very low priority.6 Feb 2012
I live in Twickenham and snow problems yesterday morning were minimal early and sorted out at least on the roads by 9.00am so no excuse for LHR.
While I agree they need a shake up about snow clearing deicing is a much bigger problem and they need to sort it out quickly, as LPPS says, a gantry system on the taxi ways like well managed airports have would solve the problem.6 Feb 2012
Binman noted – LHR T5 looked like a refugee camp with so many transfer passengers stuck.
I wonder how much exceptional / additional revenue BAA made from a captive market situation when compared with normal throughput.6 Feb 2012
Krisflyer, sounds very sensible and a good move forward. I have frequently used airports like JFK, ORD, STL, MKE as well as infrequent visits to DME, VIE and PRG all of which de-iced the planes with the standard cherry pickers. Not pleasant, as it reminds me of being in side a dishwasher when it is running, however they all did it very efficiently (in Chicago they often do it more than once…)6 Feb 2012
it seems to me that alot of people are comparing LHR to places like JFK ORD STL DME VIE and PRG where de icing is the norm rather than the exception. Lets see how well you do something having to do it a handful of times in a year, and being compared to places that do it almost daily for 3-5 months straight. you cant compare LHR to places where it is routinely -20 degrees for days if not weeks on end.6 Feb 2012
craigwatson, I expect the cold snowy places to do it better. The point of my post was that it is possible to de-ice effectively without the expense of a taxiway system such as mentioned at Munich.
There is a problme with this line of reasoning though. If you are in a place that gets snow and cold weather regularly and often, then you are expected to cope with that. If you are in an area that gets hot weather regualrly and often you are expected to cope, if you are in an area that suffers from high winds or fog etc etc. The logical extension is that if you are in an area where you get all of these things now and again (e.g. 1-2 times a year for a week or two) it is acceptable to be mediocre at all of them.
My originakl question though was what was the cause of the cancelleations and delays. We have heard a lot about snow and runway clearance with BAA buying many new vehicles (given that it is not an everyday occurance in UK). IS the de-icing which could be equipment and or training/manpower or is ti access to the airport?
So no surprise LHR does not fare as well as those with more experience but can we find out exactly what the issues are so the performance can be further improved?
As an afterthought, it does of course mean I feel much safer taking off in bad weather from ORD, JFK or DME than LHR precisely because of their increased experience.6 Feb 2012
@ craigwatson – 06/02/2012 17:04 GMT
De-icing with a truck may be acceptable given the number of aircraft movements at somewhere like EDI or NCL, at LHR it is a joke. I understand that on Satuday morning the temperature was -7C so effectively everything that moved needed to be de-iced. That was probably the start of the day’s problems which only got worse after that. At this time of the year sub-zero temperatures are common especially in the early morning.
As Martyn says, where did the money go that was supposed to be spent on snow management? Clearly not on snow management but probably on extending a few shops.
I just wish BAA had been forced to sell LHR instead of STN, we could have looked forward to a brighter future – at least until Boris Island is built 😉6 Feb 2012