More flights are cancelled as Heathrow says: ‘we’re full’
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Wednesday 23 January 2013
Dozens more British Airways flights to and from Heathrow were cancelled today as the airline sought to avoid the mayhem that passengers experienced at the weekend.
The initial scheduled departure of the day, to Stockholm, was the first casualty – and cancellations of some short-haul services continued until noon.
The flights were culled because of predictions of more bad weather at Europe’s busiest airport. “We cancelled the flights the evening before to ensure that we could operate a robust service to protect the integrity of the whole network,” said a spokesman for BA.
Affected travellers were informed in advance, and given the option of transferring to other flights or cancelling the trip with a full refund. The airline plans to operate a full schedule today, for the first time in a week.
Heathrow’s chief executive, Colin Matthews, apologised to travellers caught up in the chaos on Friday, when more than 400 flights were cancelled at short notice. He told the BBC: “Because we’re full, any amount of snow is going to cause disruption”. Mr Matthews said the process of deciding whether to cancel flights in advance was “not perfect”. “It’s a consensus decision, whereby the airlines and air traffic control and the Met Office and us sit down, look ahead a day, and say, ‘What’s going to happen’.”
Once again, UK domestic flights were disproportionately hit by BA’s cancellations, with seven departures from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow to Heathrow axed. BA also cancelled flights to and from Manchester and Newcastle.
Elsewhere, more flights were cancelled at Bristol airport, which had earlier been closed because of snow.
Travellers who switched from air to rail experienced fresh problems. Because of snow and ice in the UK, northern France and Belgium, all Eurostar trains are being delayed, with some services cancelled. The train operator has already cancelled two trains between Brussels and London for today.
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