blue sky thinking

February 6, 2009

Snow storms highlight the need for third Heathrow runway, says ABTA
ABTA has argued that this weeks snow storms have again highlighted the need for a third runway at Heathrow airport.

Following the blizzards on Sunday night, which left up to eight inches of snow in the south east, 868 inbound and outbound flights from the airport were cancelled on the Monday while on the Tuesday a further 173 flights were pulled.

It was only by Wednesday that normality returned to the airport, a situation which ABTA believes will be largely avoided in the future once the third runway has been built.

A spokesman said: “This weeks snow brings us back to the issue of capacity. Every time you have a large number of cancellations because of different issues at Heathrow airport you get a knock-on effect.

“Obviously if you had a third runway any backlogs could be cleared quicker.”

Uh, no? You can either use a third runway to improve reliability, at the cost of capacity, or you can thrash it to within a slot of its capacity, at, as we all know, the cost of reliability when the weather goes wrong. Or anything goes wrong, for that matter. Thinking you can have both is wishful thinking.

If there’s more planes, there’s more backlog, and there’s no net benefit to having the extra runway.

It seems quite clear to me that the intention is to, uh, maximise revenue from Runway 3. Why build all that extra terminal capacity otherwise?

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