Heathrow unveils winter snow plans
Thursday 29 September 2011
Heathrow will have more equipment and more staff on hand to deal with bad weather this winter following the chaos at the west London airport last Christmas, it was announced today.
Heavy snow fall on the Saturday before Christmas led to a near-shutdown of Heathrow, with thousands of festive travellers forced to camp at the airport - some for several days.
Heathrow operator BAA was fiercely criticised for failing to deal with the severe weather.
Today BAA announced a "winter resilience programme". The company said it had:
:: Tripled the number of vehicles available for snow clearance compared to December 2010, with a total fleet of 185 vehicles;
:: Increased the total number of staff available for snow clearance from 117 to 468 per shift;
:: Introduced a new "reservist" role which will see up to 950 non-operational staff deployed to terminals to help passengers during disruption;
:: Agreed with airlines, air traffic control company Nats and ACL (the company responsible for allocating take-off and landing slots at Heathrow) a new process for managing the necessary flight cancellations during disruption so that passengers receive more timely and accurate information about whether their flight is operating;
:: Initiated plans for a new airport control centre and improved the support and information provided to passengers during disruption.
So far BAA has committed to investing £32.4 million in implementing the new measures.
Normand Boivin, chief operating officer of Heathrow, said: "Much has been done to improve Heathrow's response to severe winter weather and there is more still to do.
"There will be lots of attention on Heathrow the next time it snows heavily. We won't be perfect but we will be better, and we will improve each time we practise our new response plans.
"There will still be times when for safety reasons airports have to close during severe weather, but the work detailed in today's report means that this should happen less often at Heathrow and that the airport community responds better when it does. "
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...
£27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...