Future Heathrow press release hit the wires today

April 16, 2008 at 12:47 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Future Heathrow has been founded by trade unions, business groups, airlines and other interested parties who have a shared interest in modernising* Heathrow. 

That’s all the background you need, to begin with.

Lord Soley continues to use the incomplete argument that Runway congestion at Heathrow increases delays for passengers, this time in a press release dated 16 April 2008.

Lord Soley, Future Heathrow’s Campaign Director said:

“Heathrow’s two runways are currently operating at 99% of their permitted capacity and this is leading to unnecessary delays for passengers. Both Amsterdam and Paris have more flights than Heathrow but fewer delays thanks to the spare capacity provided by their extra runways.”

“These figures show that additional capacity at Heathrow is needed now, if the UK is to maintain its competitive edge.”

His handy quote has already been picked up by Bloomberg, Forbes and CheapFlights:

London Heathrow, City Airports Suffering More Delays (Update1)

Punctuality of carriers leaving UK airports up 1 pct point in Q4 07 – CAA UPDATE

Delays at Heathrow are ‘thanks to’ runway congestion, says BA

The latest flight I am familiar with was delayed for three hours yesterday: it (purportedly) had engine, fuel, baggage and paperwork problems that caused its delay, in that order.  I have yet to hear whether runway congestion was one component that added to that list of challenges that were duly dealt with; though I would expect it was, as a new slot for take-off had to be allocated.  Lord Soley can, of course, grasp at straws and blame runway congestion (alone) for delays if he so chooses, and imply that the solution is a Third Runway, but that is far from the whole story.  A reduction in Heathrow flight numbers would be a more suitable suggestion, especially in recognition of the challenges we face with climate change 😉


* ‘Modernising’ is a lovely adjective that can be interpreted in so many ways—it covers a multitude of sins.  For example, ‘modernising’ does not simply refer to the recent well-publicised opening of the cathedralesque T5.  Nor is the term limited to the under-reported climate- and passenger-beneficial remodelling of older terminal buildings and all the other truly great improvements planned for Heathrow, all described in BAA glossy brochure on Heathrow’s Transformation with tagline ‘That’s why we’re calling Heathrow a new airport for London’.  This is all good stuff.

Unfortunately, ‘modernising’ in its more general usage by Future Heathrow, often means no less than ‘Adding capacity at Heathrow Airport‘, as in the recent DfT Consultation into Heathrow expansion.  More specifically, ‘modernising’ as it relates to this specific press release includes the push for a Third Runway, and all that goes with it.  This leads naturally from demands for R3 to the necessity of T6, and from these  well-orchestrated requirements to infinity and beyond!


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