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Heathrow worst in latest survey

According to statistics published by the Association of European Airlines, not only was Heathrow rated as the worst of the 27 airports in its latest survey but this was the 16th quarter in succession that it was rated among the poorest five performers. It shows that more than one in 10 flights leaves Heathrow late because of what is described as “load and aircraft handling flight ops” or, in plain English, the ability of an airport to get a plane ready to depart on time.

Delays at British airports are so common that it has been calculated that 1,000 air passengers a day are entitled to claim up to £430 compensation. None of the other airports in the report comes near this appalling statistic; even at Athens, the next worst performer for plane handling, ground operations only delay 7.4 per cent of flights.

Every time Heathrow is named and shamed for delays, the airport insists that the problems can be explained by a lack of capacity. Heathrow’s two runways are operating at capacity, which means small events such as adverse weather, can cause major delays and disruption. Other airports, which have plenty of spare runway capacity, do not suffer these problems.

London business leaders have suggested that Heathrow could cut back on flights to give the airport some breathing room. Perhaps Ken Livingstone was close to the mark when, as London’s MayorScience Articles, he suggested that Heathrow might work better if the airport’s owners were more interested in getting flights in and out on time than running a shopping mall!

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Keith McGregor is a partner of Strawberrysoup, a web design agency with offices in Chichester and Bournemouth. Strawberrysoup specialise in creative web design, content managed websites, search engine optimisation, search engine marketing and graphic design

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