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Heathrow Vs Snow This Season  
User currently offlineMilka From Monaco, joined Mar 2010, 19 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 8209 times:

Hi guys,

It's this time of the year again, snow is slowly coming to the UK and once again paralyzing it...Today Luton and Stansted had minor problems because of it and it is going to be get only worse probably in the coming days.

Me like countless travelers will be hoping to get back home for Christmas from heathrow and I can only remember the horrors of two years ago when heathrow was closed for a week and it took me 5 days to get out of the country and nearly missed Christmas.

My question is: does anyone know if since that fiasco two years ago, has heathrow improved its snow fighting capabilities? or will I once again get stuck ?....

Milka

46 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLofty From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2008, 289 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 8180 times:

More equipment, better process, more staff and a willingness to plan ahead. I would like to think LHR can cope.

User currently offlinegarpd From UK - Scotland, joined Aug 2005, 2603 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 8184 times:

Probably not. BAA are not interested in investing money in tools that do not offer a direct profit stream.

Having said that, they no longer own ALL of the major airports in the UK, so cannot afford to be complacent. They now have to compete for business.

In the end, there is only one way to find out.



arpdesign.wordpress.com
User currently offlineTC957 From UK - England, joined May 2012, 790 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 8182 times:

This is Britain you're talikng about here - you asked about a match between Heathrow and the snow - result is the same every time, snow wins 1 - 0.
No contest.
  


User currently offlineEagleBoy From Niue, joined Dec 2009, 1790 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 8139 times:
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I too am putting my money on the Snow pulling out another win from the bag. LHR will try to fight the battle that took place last time, Snow will however be more adaptable and reactive to whatever LHR try to do.

2-0 Snow methinks


User currently offlineraffik From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 1713 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 8017 times:

Quoting garpd (Reply 2):
Probably not. BAA are not interested in investing money in tools that do not offer a direct profit stream.

There will be no profit if the airline is closed for days due to snow.

Unfortunately, it happens every time it snows at LHR.

I was in Moscow in February- it was -31c and heavy snow. I was sat in the airport lounge watching the airport- it was just white but all the flights departed on time, including our A321 back to Heathrow . I thought that if it was the UK the flights would have been canceled.



Happy -go- lucky kinda guy!
User currently offlineteme82 From Finland, joined Mar 2007, 1460 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 8008 times:
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Well I'm heading to London 6th of Jan 2013 so expect more snow then. ;D
Perhaps folks from BAA should come to here to learn now the snow is cleared so that it wont cause huge issues.



Flying high and low
User currently offlineLondonCity From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2008, 1452 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 7909 times:

Quoting Milka (Thread starter):
Today Luton and Stansted had minor problems

I wouldn't say that STN had minor problems. It was closed for several hours and so the first wave of very early morning LCC flights couldn't take off.

See pics of snow-bound STN:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...rports-theres-icy-weather-way.html


User currently offlinecaptainmeeerkat From Russia, joined Aug 2010, 384 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 7847 times:

I know there are some here who said last December/January that the powers that be at LHR are not responsible for snow and that it was unprecedented etc etc.

However, there can be no excuse this year if LHR fails to function in snow conditions. There have been precedents set now for the last number of years. If it snows, a major hub like LHR should not shut down. AMS and FRA manage to have some sort of functionality in such conditions.

As a resident of Russia, I KNOW snow and freezing conditions. Here, they are prepared for it because it is normal, it is expected. But if it is expected in LHR once again, can we be reasonably sure that they are prepared also? I highly doubt it but let's hope.



my luggage is better travelled than me!
User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3526 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 7815 times:

Both LHR and LGW have made significant investments in snow clearing equipment following the fiasco of two years ago. last time I flew into LGW the plane taxied past the compound full of big shiny snow ploughs so the equipment definitely does exist.

I think some of the posts above are overly pessimistic, snow will always cause disruption at LHR, the runways normally operate close to capacity, and planes can't land on runways whilst they are beign cleared, and the other factor is that LHR has a high % of tarmac compared to grass, this limits where you can clear the snow to that you need to clear from the aprons and taxiways.
However they are more prepared than they used to be, and should be able to cope reasonably well unless we get a heavy fall.


User currently offlineeuropean742 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2010, 110 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 7483 times:

This country is just a joke! Look at LTN and STN this morning, that was only a light dusting of snow! I flew from Tallinn last week, it snowed constantly from 06:00 to my flight at 14:00 and everything was going on time, not one bit of disruption. Correct me if i'm wrong but didn't MAD have record snowfall for many years a couple of years back, yet it was only closed for a few hours. 2 years ago LHR was closed for a week, now you can't say MAD are used to it but they are still better prepared than we will ever be. Just a total shambles every year, a snowflake falls on a runway and everything shuts down.

User currently offlineSCQ83 From United States of America, joined Oct 2012, 779 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 7438 times:

Nice, I am flying BOS-LHR-MAD in AA/BA just before X-Mas to avoid IB service & strikes... maybe I will get stuck with the snow instead  

Anyway, I lived in London when there was an "historic snowstorm" in January '09 (that means a few inches of snow in London for about a few hours) and the city was completely paralyzed for a couple of days (most people couldn't even go to work). It was quite sad for such a major city.

Quoting captainmeeerkat (Reply 8):
However, there can be no excuse this year if LHR fails to function in snow conditions. There have been precedents set now for the last number of years. If it snows, a major hub like LHR should not shut down. AMS and FRA manage to have some sort of functionality in such conditions.

I don't know if that is entirely true. I remember (I think it was X-Mas 2010, probably two or three days before X-Mas) I was flying from Asia via IST (TK) to Spain and my flight to IST was completely full in all classes with (rebooked) German stranded passengers because FRA was closed due to snow and LH flight could not operate.


User currently offlineVV701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7361 posts, RR: 17
Reply 12, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 7218 times:

Quoting Milka (Thread starter):
Me like countless travelers will be hoping to get back home for Christmas from heathrow and I can only remember the horrors of two years ago
Quoting garpd (Reply 2):
Probably not. BAA are not interested in investing money in tools that do not offer a direct profit stream

According to the BBC Heathrow Airport Ltd spent £32.4 million on additional snow clearing equipment following the debacle two years ago.

Here iss a link to the BBC report of 29 September 2011:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-15105627


User currently offlinecaptainmeeerkat From Russia, joined Aug 2010, 384 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 7187 times:

Quoting SCQ83 (Reply 11):
don't know if that is entirely true. I remember (I think it was X-Mas 2010, probably two or three days before X-Mas) I was flying from Asia via IST (TK) to Spain and my flight to IST was completely full in all classes with (rebooked) German stranded passengers because FRA was closed due to snow and LH flight could not operate.

There is a big difference between closing for a few hours or half a day to clear the runways, taxiways and aprons; and shutting down the entire airport for a longer period of time because of a precedented event.

We all know that LHR operates at close to full capacity often during the day and any disruption to one runway can lead to chaos but a proper contingency plan that prepares for this is needed so that many planes don't become stranded in the air and on the ground (remember the VS fiasco in 2010?). Anything else in unacceptable for a hub like LHR.



my luggage is better travelled than me!
User currently offlineBKflyguy From United States of America, joined Dec 2012, 71 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 7081 times:

I know that the airport retained a company called Integrated De-Icing Solutions (IDS) to consult on ways to improve the efficiency of de-icing procedures. IDS also sent a couple of their trucks to Heathrow.

User currently offlineCM From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 7057 times:

Snow wins in a route.

I was flying into LHR on 1-Feb, 2009 when we were diverted into CWL due to weather in London. We imagined it must be bad to send a 747-400 to Cardiff and bus everyone to London. I was trying to make a connection at LHR, so went directly to the airport from Cardiff, attempting to catch my next flight. There wasn't much snow, maybe 5cm, so I expected many flights would still be getting out:



Boy was I wrong:



The photo of the departure board is a bit hard to read, but the photo below of a handmade sign at the BA CSR desk said it all... EVERY flight out of LHR was cancelled for 5cm of snow!



You can see from the photo at the top, just how "adverse" the weather conditions were!  Yeah sure

Really, for such a critical hub connecting the the western world, LHR needs to be much more all-weather capable than it is today. In the winter, I will now choose FRA over LHR every time.

[Edited 2012-12-05 11:50:43]

User currently offlineLitz From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1753 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 6979 times:
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Wow... Even during the ice storm a couple of years ago, ATL never completely closed... Lots of trouble getting around on roads yes... But the airport was still open.

User currently offlineBasilFawlty From Netherlands, joined Jun 2009, 1309 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 6932 times:

Quoting captainmeeerkat (Reply 8):
AMS and FRA manage to have some sort of functionality in such conditions.

  

FRA, yes, AMS, definitely not! When it comes to snow AMS is almost as bad as LHR due to the reason mentioned earlier in this topic:

Quoting garpd (Reply 2):
BAA are not interested in investing money in tools that do not offer a direct profit stream.

It's the same at AMS. They have a basic snow fleet and basic trained staff to operate it, and that's it. Everything else is considered too expensive, because snow is 'only a few days per year'   

Airports in Western Europe should be managed by people from Scandinavian countries when it's snowing, airports there are almost never closed or seriously disrupted.



'Every year donkeys and mules kill more people than plane crashes'
User currently offlineshankly From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 1538 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 6817 times:

Quoting VV701 (Reply 12):
According to the BBC Heathrow Airport Ltd spent £32.4 million on additional snow clearing equipment following the debacle two years ago


...so that will be £32m on tents to stand all the stranded passengers in, £200,000 on a tractor with a snow plough and £200,000 on some de-icer from Halfords

Quoting raffik (Reply 5):
I was in Moscow in February- it was -31c and heavy snow. I was sat in the airport lounge watching the airport- it was just white but all the flights departed on time, including our A321 back to Heathrow


But as you well know raffik we have a very different type of snow here in the UK. Its very wet and dense and doesn't even cover the ground nicely so you still get to see the grass. If we had proper Russian or Canadian snow, it would be no problem



L1011 - P F M
User currently offlineCEO@AFG From Norway, joined Jan 2001, 245 posts, RR: 3
Reply 19, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 6717 times:

Well Stockholm has had its fair share of problems today. Basically all public transport have shut down. Stockholm - Arlanda and Bromma airports have been highly affected with lots of cancelled flights.

http://www.thelocal.se/44872/20121205/#.UL-xkYZfHg0

Some news video of the weather:
http://www.tv4play.se/program/nyheterna?video_id=2247353

[Edited 2012-12-05 12:49:26]


"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue." Steven McCroskey, Airplane!
User currently offlineslcdeltarumd11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3306 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 6686 times:

Snow in London has always confused me.

I was in London right after New Years 2010 and there was literally a dusting on the ground and like half the flights were cancelled for days and then a BA strike cancelled even more. I couldn't understand it and when we returned back into JFK there was probably six times more snow, it was much much colder, and there wasnt even a mention of bad weather conditions. Can Heathrow not invest in some plows, sand, and ice melt for the rare times they need them. Do they get snow at least once year or is really a rare event? I have been in london twice with snow so either i have good luck or they might need to start investing in some salt and a few shovels


User currently offlinedavid_itl From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 7359 posts, RR: 14
Reply 21, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 6609 times:
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Quoting slcdeltarumd11 (Reply 20):
I have been in london twice with snow so either i have good luck or they might need to start investing in some salt and a few shovels

think this is the reason people should remember

Quoting shankly (Reply 18):
But as you well know raffik we have a very different type of snow here in the UK. Its very wet and dense and doesn't even cover the ground nicely so you still get to see the grass. If we had proper Russian or Canadian snow, it would be no problem

It will be interesting to see what happens over the rest of the winter as I've seen reports that it's going to be snowy in December then relatively dry in January with more snow in February.


User currently offlinesankaps From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2255 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 6523 times:

Quoting raffik (Reply 5):
There will be no profit if the airline is closed for days due to snow.

BAA is not the airline, it is the airport operator. BA is the airline. Perhaps you have the two confused.

Quoting raffik (Reply 5):
I was in Moscow in February- it was -31c and heavy snow. I was sat in the airport lounge watching the airport- it was just white but all the flights departed on time, including our A321 back to Heathrow . I thought that if it was the UK the flights would have been canceled.

LHR operates as 99% capacity in normal weather. In adverse weather, even with the best snow removal in the world, things will slow down because the snow removal process needs some time to work the runways and taxiways. Therefore there will be delays and cancellations. Even Moscow would have delays and cancellations in snow if it were operating at 99% capacity.

Having said that, there is a lot both BA and BAA cando to keep passengers better informed and to handle those delayed at stranded better, even if they cannot avoid delays and cancellatons altogether because of the above.


User currently offlineSenchingo From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 6366 times:

When it comes to snow, LHR maybe really IS Europe's most horrific airport you could imagine to be at. To me, it seems like they would go "OMG, it's winter, weather forecasts predicted snow, every year it's the same but HOW in the world should we have known that it's gonna be right now?!?!" and boom, there you go.
Interesting to read "Just a total shambles every year, a snowflake falls on a runway and everything shuts down" as we here say exactly the same: "Eine Schneeflocke und LHR ist dicht" (One snowflake and LHR is shut down).

I have to say that in Europe, MUC is definitely the best place to be when it's snowing. Perfect preparation for the season and very good equipment used.
They even offer jobs to local farmers equipping their trucks with snow shovels (?), training them for the apron driving license and sending them out to the runways and aprons clearing the mess.

I still remember 2010 when i had a drop by at the tower, hearing someone say "okay, LHR closed, CDG closed, FRA closed, AMS just closed. Guys, looks like we're the last standing, that'll be a busy day" and it was ^^

Still i'm amazed how i.e. HEL, ARN, STO, DME or OVB do so well given the extreme conditions they face.


User currently offlineDano1977 From British Indian Ocean Territory, joined Jun 2008, 481 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 7 months 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 6354 times:

The UK is a country with a moderate climate. We rely on the jetstream/Gulf Stream to keep the nut numbing weather away.

Unfortunately when the weather does something unusual, we as a nation get caught with our pants down and everything grinds to a halt.

Yes it's embarrassing, and it takes ages for something to be done about it. (Especially if it involves financial outlay)

You will probably find now, that heathrow has spent a ton of cash on new snow clearance machines... They won't be needed this year or the next.

To play devils advocate....

It is difficult to predict the weather in the UK... With its many differing landscapes and enviroments, it's like each area has its own microclimate. For example, the area where I live, won't get snow if its blowing in from the north, but the neighbouring counties in all directions will, and a 1hour drive will take you in those conditions. It the weather is easterly and coming from Siberia, then we get hit badly.



Children should only be allowed on aircraft if 1. Muzzled and heavily sedated 2. Go as freight
25 Viscount724 : The question is whether it makes sense to spend millions on equipment that may sometimes not even be needed for the entire winter.
26 Post contains links sankaps : Once again it is because they do not operate at 100% capacity. But ironically as we speak, Stockholm airport is nearly paralyzed because of a snowsto
27 Post contains images BasilFawlty : You can compare it with an insurance. You pay your whole life just in case your house goes on fire. How big is the chance that it actually happens? V
28 ordjoe : That equipment is cheap compared to the costs involved with shutting down airports due to a dusting of snow It is Europe, the region where waiting fo
29 nclmedic : Exactly - even traditionally 'snowy' airports in the world, with good investment in equipment and training have issues when it snows. And people seem
30 keegd76 : By that logic why invest in all the airport fire engines? If the airport is fortunate enough then that equipment would be used even less than the sno
31 Bongodog1964 : The difference is that fire engines are a statutory requirement. the flights/size of planes an airport can accept are entirley dependent on the scale
32 Post contains images keegd76 : Wasn't concerned with whether or not they are a statutory requirement. Point is the fire engines are there to cope with a situation which happens inf
33 Post contains links and images VV701 : According to this site: http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?action=winter-history;sess= "I am going to summarise the past 20 years. The late 80s saw l
34 sankaps : I think this is a false analogy... fire engines are there in sufficient quantities for incidents / accidents involving maybe one or two aircraft, or
35 jcwr56 : I've been reading this thread and it does amaze me somewhat the the Airport Authority doesn't look at snow as part of their business model and the exp
36 Post contains links VV701 : For many years my brother-in-law lived in Chicago or, to be precise, Elmhurst. Please be assured that there is no comparison between the continental
37 Lofty : You have have all the equipment you need but unfortunately if your staff can't get to LHR the equipment will stay still. The main point is England is
38 Viscount724 : There's a big difference. With fire engines you're talking about saving passengers' lives. Spending millions on additional snow removal equipment at
39 rutankrd : Amsterdam gets plenty of snow every winter (more than most English airfields at any rate) and has way more runways to vary traffic flows than any UK
40 rutankrd : The UK population in general have little idea how to deal with snow or adequately prepare their vehicles - In fact our highway code isn't even suppor
41 Post contains images GCT64 : I think that is going to be really difficult to achieve at busy single runway airports (and the UK has more than its fair share of those). LHR &
42 MHG : And I´m pretty sure that this is the smartest solution since the snowy season is when farmers have little else to do and they certainly are screened
43 Post contains images readytotaxi : This this the REAL reason the current government is against a third runway at LHR, all that extra snow to clear?
44 Lofty : What is interesting is DUS and FRA was closed yesterday due snow. The reason being they run out of stands! At one point it was planned that FRA would
45 Triple7X : Just a thought, Shouldn't the government step in to regulate and ensure that all major airports in the UK has proper and adequate snow clearing resour
46 r2rho : It would certainly help to establish minimum performance targets in the concession contracts - including penalties for not achieving them. It would a
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