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Agree, deicing gantries are what are needed on main taxi ways. Spoke to a BA manager earlier today who says there is plenty of snow clearing equipment available, what BAA have never done is recruit and train enough staff to use it. Somehow that smacked of the truth. More incompetance but should we be surprised?6 Feb 2012
Having sat on board, parked at a stand, for close to 4 hours yesterday morning at LGW, waiting for the *single* de-icing crew who were working to get round to us, I’m not convinced that any amount of investment in machines is going to make any difference. So long as people use the snow as an excuse not to show up for work, or the airport operators don’t employ enough staff to operate the machines (I don’t know which it was), there is no solution.
On a positive note, the on-board crew and flight deck crew were fantastic, despite the fact they were being told for 3.5 hours that the de-icer was ‘on its way’ and our plane was next in line. Kept everyone entertained and calm, drinks service, and the captain even inviting everyone to visit the cockpit to ‘pass the time’. It made it bearable, and definitely prevented it becoming a much worse situation.6 Feb 2012
This is all a bit silly. Nothing to do with how many/how expensive/how good/how experienced. Everything to do with capacity. Our friends in the Nordics etc do of course get freezing temps/deep snow etc, but they do not suffer the capacity constraints that exist at LHR.
One inch of snow equates to around 70,000 tons per runway. When you operate at close to 100% capacity, moving some or all of that will take quite some time, and thus whilst you are moving it, the runway is inop. Thus things have to slow down. Thus you get delays. Thus you have to change the way things normally work. Not complicated.
It is of course easy to criticise, complain and make comparisons ( even if they are wholly spurious), but sometines it feels as though I have stumbled into a nigthmare which has forced me to read the Daily Mail.
Safe travels!6 Feb 2012
Your must have been unlucky Earlyriser – we had two parties go out of Gatwick on two separate flights to Dubai and both left on time. The flight I was on was de-iced within 5 minutes of pushback.
So, Heathrow lost 30% of its flights and Gatwick operated virtually a full schedule. No doubt Comedy Colin is getting his excuses sorted as we speak.
Emirates had virtually all its flights into Heathrow cancelled yesterday and people outside the UK laugh at how inept our largest airport is. How long before Colin the Clown falls on his sword and they get some professional management in?6 Feb 2012
esselle: When I landed at LHR at 06.20 yesterday morning the runways were both clear so I’m not sure why we should be understanding about snow clearance, that was not the problem, the problem was then de-icing for which LHR has pitiful resources but lots of shops!6 Feb 2012
RichHI1 – 06/02/2012 20:36 GMT
Don’t suggest this even in gest. The current government would probably pause for thought before implementation, the last lot of clowns would have done it.6 Feb 2012
Here are the press releases by BAA, I think they are taking the Mickey…. xx6 Feb 2012
It is interesting from this thread that there is a very British characteristic emerging .
Aside from those of us who are sick of the Heathrow focus on shops and revenue to the detriment of passenger and airline service (though others will say not pricing), there is a large tendency for people to make apologies for BAA and LHR.
Oh let’s not be cruel as this does not happen everyday, oh let’s not judge harshly as they are busy, oh let”s not criticize as they tried (by cancelling wholesale.) LHR is different, so that’s why…
I have to say that whilst there are many reasons why LHR is in a different position, most airports have factors that make them different but some do their jobs well and efficiently and others not so much.
The factors listed in my view are excuses not reasons. LHR should be able to offer a world class service whther it is a balmy 83 and sunny, raining and 50 or snowing and 25-30. Obviously there are weather events such as Hurricanes which stop all airports.
I think the situation is further complicated by an ignorant press who bang on about snow and how it causes delay and how BA have bought snow plows without understanding all the factors at play. (Noted that such ignorance of facts and attempts to oversimplify coupled with political agendas being fairly common in modern journalism and not limited to avaiation).
It is interesting to note that Staff turnout and deicing issues are being raised here by firsthand travellers and theissue of snow which caused all the issues previously seems to have been less of an issue.
I do not think it is unreasinable to question why LHR, as the primary airport in the UK for civil avaiation seems to have performed worse in the recent cold weather than other UK airports in more adverse conditions, such as MAN and PIK (BHX, EDI and GLA being more short haul orientated).
Rather than making excuses or simply venting anger at LHR’s performance, we need an informed debate about the complex issues and causes, the actions or not of the various players, including HMG and the lack of capacity in the UK and a route towards improced performance, As long as we either apologize or just say BAA, the Coallition hatred of air travel and LHR are the worst, I cannot see any meaningful imporvement coming.
Intersting to see Essex and Kent got some of the worst of the snow yet again, as ever. maybe the Boris Island should be called Boris Archipelago… Imagine the fun and games we would have snow, ice and fog with an island in the far south east in the Thames Estuary…
Last thing, whilst I chide BAA, LHR and NATS very often about delays and service levls I think it is excellent that whilst performance may slow in adverse conditions there seems to be a strong pressure to maintain safety standards and we did not see aircraft sliding off runways or running into each other whilst taxiing.7 Feb 2012
“I think it is excellent that whilst performance may slow in adverse conditions there seems to be a strong pressure to maintain safety standards and we did not see aircraft sliding off runways or running into each other whilst taxiing.”
I would be seriously concerned if aircraft had been playing dodgems on Sunday – with a 30% reduction in traffic, they would have had very few “opponents” to aim for!7 Feb 2012
“this does not happen everyday” NO but it does happen every year!!!
They should use this as an excuse for a THIRD runway not for expansion and in creasing services but for safety and business continuity!!! 🙁 xx7 Feb 2012
move all GA to Northolt, Biggin, and Luton – create a helicopter shuttle in for those that want (which would be far cheaper than landing and parking fees for a corporate jet) and there you have more space for and more movements created in the land of Heathrow.7 Feb 2012
They should use Farnborough for corportate and private jets, much nicer than Luton and Northolt. Biggin Hill sounds way to small. Martyn do LHR get a lot of private traffic to make a difference? xx7 Feb 2012