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BAA aims to avoid further snow chaos with £50m investment into winter operations

Posted: 24 March 2011 | BAA | No comments yet

Decision follows report that criticised the way in which BAA handled last December’s heavy snow fall…

BAA today announces that it is developing a £50 million Heathrow resilience investment plan, which it will recommend to airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority in April.

Snow equipmentThe plan will allow Heathrow to implement all the recommendations of the Begg winter resilience report.

Heathrow’s proposed improvements will include:

  • Revised airport snow plans, including new equipment, increased staff resources and training
  • Crisis management processes
  • Systems for command and control and communication between the airport community (including airlines) and passengers
  • Passenger care and support, in addition to that provided by airlines under EU legislation

BAA’s chief executive Colin Matthews, who commissioned the report, said:

“Following December’s disruption, we invested in new equipment, people and training to enable us to respond better to snow in future. We are now putting together a comprehensive action plan to implement all 14 Begg recommendations.

“I am pleased to have secured agreement from the chief executives of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, British Midland International, NATS and the CAA to establish a Heathrow partnership for passengers which meets regularly to publicly reinforce Heathrow’s collective commitment to make every passenger’s journey better than the last one.

“Our aim is to better serve passengers in normal times and at times of disruption, whatever the cause. I thank David Begg and his panel members for exploring what happened at Heathrow in December and providing these important recommendations.

“If the entire Heathrow community learns from this report, and works more collaboratively to promote passengers’ interests, then this is a pivotal moment for the airport and its reputation.

“We clearly understand our role in keeping Heathrow open, unless for emergency or safety reasons, but to do that and to achieve the highest standards of passenger care, we need to work more closely and collaboratively with airlines and them with us, and all agree on the necessary training and investment.

Heathrow is among the most congested airports in the world and the lack of spare capacity means that unlike every other British or European airport, we have literally no room to move when disruption occurs. This means that any problem, large or small, that slows down the rate of aircraft arriving at or leaving from Heathrow, will disrupt many people.

“Passengers will win as airlines, the airport and others work together and in some cases put aside historic differences to make Heathrow a better experience for passengers.”

BAA Chairman Sir Nigel Rudd said:

“The Board fully supports the decision to accept the recommendations in David Begg’s report and develop the executive plan.

“We are encouraging our management team to dedicate all the necessary resources and engage positively with airlines and others to ensure that extreme weather conditions are better handled next time for the sake of passengers.

“Our response to the enquiry report and our on-going commitment to making Heathrow better is reflected in our £1 billion a year capital programme that is building a new Terminal 2 and modernising the airport’s existing terminals.”

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