Heathrow peace at what price? Passenger delays and carbon emissions exempt

June 13, 2008 at 9:37 am | Posted in Climate change, Heathrow | Leave a comment
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Thanks to President Bush, it is much quieter here in Windsor today.  The number of flights through Heathrow airport have reportedly been reduced from 42 an hour to 24.  Well, on that simple basis, I would welcome my president with open arms to this great country—every day!

Unfortunately, this relative peace is accompanied by its own undesirable consequences, just as George Bush is accompanied by his own entourage and rehearsals, as noted in the Daily Telegraph:

George W Bush visit to cause Heathrow misery
By Andrew Porter and David Millward
Last updated: 2:03 PM BST 13/06/2008

Hundreds of thousands of air passengers face delays because of the arrival of President George W Bush at Heathrow this weekend for a brief visit to Britain.

The disruption at the airport is likely to begin on Friday as staff prepare for the arrival of Mr Bush and his entourage of airliners on Sunday.

Mr Bush’s travelling party includes the Air Force One 747, a back-up 747, a 757 jet and four helicopters.

On Thursday armoured cars arrived at the London airport – which led to 60-minute delays for some passengers.

On Friday, four helicopters will land as part of a major rehearsal ahead of the visit.

Sources at the airport told The Daily Telegraph that the aircraft “flow rate” will be reduced from the usual 42 planes an hour to just 24.

That will cause a backlog that will take six to seven hours to clear. In total, Heathrow handles around 180,000 passengers every day.

On Sunday the delays are expected to be worse. Airport authorities have been ordered to close the runway to inspect it then the seven aircraft will land, causing more disruption.

It is feared the backlogs could take seven hours to clear.

The President’s entourage will expect landing priority from air traffic controllers.

Travellers face the prospect of spending a prolonged time circling the airport in a system known as a “stack” until another slot can be found for their aircraft to land.

Almost inevitably, the late arrival of an aircraft will mean its next take-off is delayed – with the situation being worsened because it will have also missed its departure slot.

“It will be a bit like taking a train on a Sunday, everything will take longer,” an aviation source said.

So, there you have our nations’ leaders’ priorities in a nutshell.  Why they could not land at a military base (RAF Brize Norton? info) with heightened security and minimal disruption I don’t know.  Do you?

Anyone fancy calculating the carbon emissions for those presidential airliners, as well as the ensuing stacks over London?

Passenger delays are of no concern, because they are happening on a weekend—so typically cut into family time for executives rather than office time, therefore apparently cost nothing from a business perspective …

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