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Heathrow Vs Snow This Season  
User currently offlineMilka From Monaco, joined Mar 2010, 19 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 8343 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, 308 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 8314 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, 2654 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 8318 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, 874 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 8316 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, 1834 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 8273 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, 1716 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 8151 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, 1527 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 8142 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, 1494 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 8043 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, 388 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 7981 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, 3585 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 7949 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, 112 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 7617 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, 938 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 7572 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, 7531 posts, RR: 17
Reply 12, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 7352 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, 388 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 7321 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, 75 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 7215 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 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 7191 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, 1764 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 7113 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, 1326 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 7066 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, 1543 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 6951 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 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 6851 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, 3461 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 6820 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, 7378 posts, RR: 13
Reply 21, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 6743 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 9 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 6657 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 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6500 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, 499 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6488 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
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25311 posts, RR: 22
Reply 25, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6721 times:

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 17):
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.

The question is whether it makes sense to spend millions on equipment that may sometimes not even be needed for the entire winter.


User currently offlinesankaps From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2255 posts, RR: 2
Reply 26, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6680 times:

Quoting Senchingo (Reply 23):
Still i'm amazed how i.e. HEL, ARN, STO, DME or OVB do so well given the extreme conditions they face.

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 snowstorm... http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...eden-weather-idUSL5E8N55AF20121205 . So it is not as if they are immune to disruption either. This kind of snowstorm for them must be as rare as LHR's snow in Dec 2010 was for LHR.

More details here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...-11e2-8a5c-473797be602c_story.html



[Edited 2012-12-05 16:00:42]

User currently offlineBasilFawlty From Netherlands, joined Jun 2009, 1326 posts, RR: 1
Reply 27, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 6770 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 25):
The question is whether it makes sense to spend millions on equipment that may sometimes not even be needed for the entire winter.

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? Very small, but it can happen! You pay your whole life just in case you get very ill. How big is the chance that it actually happens? Small, but it can happen! So if you're an airport, yes, you have to spend some good money on proper equipment and proper trained staff. How big is the chance that you need it EVERY winter? Small in countries like the UK and the Netherlands, BUT IT CAN HAPPEN!  



'Every year donkeys and mules kill more people than plane crashes'
User currently offlineordjoe From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 707 posts, RR: 0
Reply 28, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6329 times:

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 25):
The question is whether it makes sense to spend millions on equipment that may sometimes not even be needed for the entire winter.

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 for things is a national past time (with the possible exception of Switzerland and Germany). It just seems to be something accepted. From my understanding it is not just the airports that go haywire when it snows, roads, trains and other businesses. It seems to be an accepted part of life there. While they do not get much snow, it happens but many still do not have any way of coping with a few cm of snow, not sure if that is funny or pathetic.


User currently offlinenclmedic From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2009, 343 posts, RR: 0
Reply 29, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5144 times:

Quoting CEO@AFG (Reply 19):
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.

Exactly - even traditionally 'snowy' airports in the world, with good investment in equipment and training have issues when it snows.

And people seem to forget the big snow at LHR 2 years ago wasn't just unprecedented, it was relentless. Even critics at the time admitted that no matter how many snow ploughs LHR had they would no way have been able to clear both runways and all major taxi ways to maintain operation.

And the issue isn't just snow, it's also ice, and visibility. How can you expect to maintain normal operation at an airport when half of arriving flights have been forced to divert to other airports.

Yes, the UK needs to wake up to the fact that snow is probably going to be more of a permanent fixture during our winters, but there is a limit to what can be achieved.


User currently offlinekeegd76 From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Aug 2009, 108 posts, RR: 0
Reply 30, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 4831 times:
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Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 25):
The question is whether it makes sense to spend millions on equipment that may sometimes not even be needed for the entire winter.

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 snowploughs.



Nothing comes down faster than a VTOL aircraft upside down.
User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3585 posts, RR: 3
Reply 31, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 4792 times:

Quoting keegd76 (Reply 30):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 25):The question is whether it makes sense to spend millions on equipment that may sometimes not even be needed for the entire winter.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 snowploughs.

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 of the fire foghting ability.


User currently offlinekeegd76 From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Aug 2009, 108 posts, RR: 0
Reply 32, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4670 times:
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Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 31):

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 infrequently. Whereas you could make the argument that snowfall at an airport can be predicted for certain periods. It may not happen but if it does then it is more likely to happen during the Dec-Feb period.

By comparison an accident at an airport requiring the fire services can never be predicted until it happens. There is no period at an airport where accidents are more likely compared to other times of the year. If that is not the case then feel free to correct me.

Hope that clarifies the point  



Nothing comes down faster than a VTOL aircraft upside down.
User currently offlineVV701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7531 posts, RR: 17
Reply 33, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 4564 times:

Quoting slcdeltarumd11 (Reply 20):
Do they get snow at least once year or is really a rare event?

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 little snowfall, ranging from generally no snowfall : 1988-90 (a couple of terrible winters, like that of 1998-00, correlation there) to 12 inches (Scotland, late November 1985) the early 90s were different.

"1990-91 saw 8 inches of snow in the Midlands in early December 1990, with 2 foot drifts in Derbyshire. In early January there was 1 foot of snowfall in Northern Scotland. In mid February there was general snowfall, with Bingley in Yorkshire seeing a whopping 20 inches!

"1991-93 saw little or no snowfall though, a disappointment.

"1993-96 weren't so bad though, with falls of up to 40cm in Leeds (January 25th 1995 I remember 1995 very well, it was a good year for snow, the coldest temperature since records began recorded in Braemar, Scotland) In 1993 there was a white Christmas in South Wales (yippee!) and Wessex. Before that, there was some snow for Scotland and Wales (6 inches 20th-24th December) and 4-8 inches of snow in late November for the Eastern spine of the UK. The IOW (Isle of Wight) to Lincolnshire saw 6 inches in early January. Mid February (1994) saw 4 inches in Northern England. Late February had 1ft of snow in Eastern Scotland. 1994-95 saw many falls of up to 40cm throughout the UK. I remember walking home from school in early march 1995 with a blizzard commensing, 15cm in total, we were off school for a week! As I said above, Leeds saw 40cm of snow in 3 hours in late January 1995! Late March also saw snow for the Northern half of England, 35cm widely here. 1995-96 saw snow on Christmas Eve/ Day in Scotland and the North East, with 35cm falling in the Shetlands. The end of January (South East) and early February (North West: Lancashire 13cm, 2 foot drifts) and also South West Scotland seeing some aswell. Mid February saw some more in the South, before some more to end the season in mid March (East).

1997-00, hardly any snow, 1999-00 virtually snow-less, so not a very good end to the millennium, in terms of snowfall, anyway."

Note the virtual absence of any mention of the southeast / London in the above.

My personal recollection is that until 2009 "disruptive" snow fell in the London area and home counties (where I live) once every eleven years or so. (The situstion in east Kent, the closest point in the UK to continental Europe, was significantly worse.) And I am old enough to remember the severe winters of 1947-48 and 1963-64.

However since 2009 we have had a series of snowy winters in soth east England. Until this recent spate of bad winters I cannot recall any consecutive or near consecutive winters with disruptive snow at Heathrow or in the London area.

Quoting sankaps (Reply 22):
LHR operates as 99% capacity in normal weather.

At 99 per cent of overall capacity it is actually operatring at 100 per cent of capacity apart from late Satrurday and early Sunday. So we sometimes run into diversions from LHR when snow (or other bad weather) disrupts flights elsewhere. A wave of delayed flightsreaches LHR mixed with all the on-time flights. Holds become excessively long. Diversions occur because of low fuel situation. Yet there is little in the weather at LHR to suggest why this should happen. So we all get the opportunity to moan that are flights were diverted because of the weather when any airport other than LHR would surely have been operating totally normally.      


User currently offlinesankaps From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2255 posts, RR: 2
Reply 34, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 4462 times:

Quoting keegd76 (Reply 30):
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 snowploughs.

I think this is a false analogy... fire engines are there in sufficient quantities for incidents / accidents involving maybe one or two aircraft, or one terminal max. Snow impacts ALL aircraft and ALL terminals, gates, runways, ramps, etc. To be prepared to handle this load would require an entire airfield of snow-removal equipment, much more equipment than the fire engines that are at Heathrow today. At some point, it just is not possible, financially or physically. Only solution for Heathrow would be to expand to a Dallas-like airport with expansive open areas, 9 active runways, and maybe 50% utilzation.


User currently offlinejcwr56 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 496 posts, RR: 1
Reply 35, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4333 times:

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 expenses it brings when little or nothing is done. Are there not representatives from the airlines pushing back on this issue, demanding something being done to make LHR more "operational" when snow falls?

No doubt there is some financial risk for purchasing snow removal and deicing equipment, but look at the cost when it actually snows, even if it's a few CM's.

Quoting VV701 (Reply 33):
Until this recent spate of bad winters I cannot recall any consecutive or near consecutive winters with disruptive snow at Heathrow or in the London area.



Living near Chicago our winters have become more milder. However, ORD still plans and holds several winter snow op meetings between the City, FAA, Airlines and Contractors to discuss and plan for events. Now, we might never see the big ones, but not planning (and in some ways this is how I see BAA's mindset) is just admitting they can't plan for or desire to handle it. It's an image thing.....

Also, why bring in consultants when LHR is probably a member of ACI and could gather far more practical and real life experienced folks in versus desk jockeys.


User currently offlineVV701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7531 posts, RR: 17
Reply 36, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4232 times:

Quoting jcwr56 (Reply 35):
Living near Chicago our winters have become more milder. However, ORD still plans and holds several winter snow op meetings between the City, FAA, Airlines and Contractors to discuss and plan for events. Now, we might never see the big ones, but not planning (and in some ways this is how I see BAA's mindset) is just admitting they can't plan for or desire to handle it. It's an image thing.....

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 climate there and the maritime climate here in the UK. In northwest Scotland, for example there is a tropical garden at Inverewe:

http://www.insiders-scotland-guide.com/ScotlandInverewegarden.html

I doubt that many if any of the plants there would survive a Chicago winter, even like those recently experienced. As I have already said, in my memory over 60 plus years until recently we have seen disruptive snow in the London area once every eleven years or so. Holding "several winter op snow meetings" when disruptive snow was so uncommon would have been problematic. Some of the participants would likely not have actually experienced such an event.

Very often changes in the USA climate are mirrored by the exact opposite here in the UK. So, while many parts of the east of the USA experienced drought conditions last summer the UK had its wettest summer in living memory. Now, for the first time in living memory, the UK has been experiencing "disruptive" snow in consecutive years while the winter climate in Chicago has been warmer. Perhaps in a few years ORD will have given up on its winter snow op meetings that by then will be a regular feature at LHR. Or perhaps things will have reverted to "normal". Who knows?


User currently offlineLofty From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2008, 308 posts, RR: 0
Reply 37, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 4193 times:

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 bad at snow, roads close, trains stop and airport staff can't get to work. Even this morning at 5am it was -5 the roads had not been gritted and the drive to LHR was fun.

LHR will have 2 Pads for remote deicing (can't call them Pans anymore), Aircraft will be pushed back onto the taxiway overnight to allow stands to be cleared of snow using new equipment.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 25311 posts, RR: 22
Reply 38, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3912 times:

Quoting keegd76 (Reply 30):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 25):
The question is whether it makes sense to spend millions on equipment that may sometimes not even be needed for the entire winter.

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 snowploughs.

There's a big difference. With fire engines you're talking about saving passengers' lives. Spending millions on additional snow removal equipment at an airport like LHR or AMS that gets little snow and thus will rarely be used is a question of avoiding possibly a few days of cancellations and related delays and disruption every 2 or 3 years. At some point you have to decide how much you can justify investing in that kind of "insurance" as opposed to spending the money on improving terminal facilities etc. that will benefit a much larger number of passengers.


User currently onlinerutankrd From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 2995 posts, RR: 7
Reply 39, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3655 times:
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Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 38):
AMS that gets little snow

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 airport.

That said this it's not good money spent/investment argument used by UK Operating authorities is no longer good enough.

The Five major airports LHR/LGW/STN/MAN and BHX in England and EDI/GLA SHOULD have adequate equipment to remain operable in 90% of potential snowclo occasions period.

That includes reserves of de-icer from October- April

Plows and blowers with adequate back up vehicles at all these airports.

[Edited 2012-12-07 12:26:20]

User currently onlinerutankrd From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2003, 2995 posts, RR: 7
Reply 40, posted (1 year 9 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3595 times:
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Quoting Lofty (Reply 37):
The main point is England is bad at snow, roads close, trains stop and airport staff can't get to work. Even this morning at 5am it was -5 the roads had not been gritted and the drive to LHR was fun.

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 supportive !

Use of wheel chains and/or studded tyres can actually lead to violations of road regulations,(Use of these damages paved road surfaces).

The alternative winter tyres (non studded) are expensive to buy and wear very quickly on paved roads.
Most UK drivers wouldn't pay for them or have storage for a second set of drums either.
Through these can be very helpful in icing conditions and we certainly have plenty of these episodes every winter.

The problem is with mean temperatures rarely falling much below 0 -5° C leading to rapid snow fall and equally rapid thaw.
This leads to planning issues for the individual - Again winter tyres would help through.

Many other countries even our neighbours in the Benelux countries experience much lower temperatures and for prolonged time periods compared to much of the UK (Scotland parts of Wales and eastern Kent excepted) and in these countries use of winter tyres is far more common.

As for rail well the unique Southern third and LUL fourth rails do ice (not something many other countries have to worry about) and covering something like 1/3 of the network this ain't changing any time soon.
In other parts of the country the now old Pacers (Buses on rails) are too light and have traction issues however most newer generation vehicles do have adequate traction these days


User currently offlineGCT64 From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2007, 1398 posts, RR: 1
Reply 41, posted (1 year 9 months 1 week 6 days ago) and read 3238 times:

Quoting rutankrd (Reply 39):
The Five major airports LHR/LGW/STN/MAN and BHX in England and EDI/GLA SHOULD have adequate equipment to remain operable in 90% of potential snowclo occasions period.

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 & MAN are really the only two busy airports that have the "luxury" of two runways (one open, one being ploughed) but while ploughing movements at LHR must be reduced by 50%.

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 17):
When it comes to snow AMS is almost as bad as LHR due to the reason mentioned earlier in this topic:

Actually my worst snow experience ever was at AMS, not at a London area airport, surprising considering they have almost infinitely more runways than any UK airport   (I also met pax at EDI this week who had been delayed 4 hours out of AMS by snow).

I also can't see how anyone expects the world's busiest single runway airport (LGW) to operate delay free when it is snowing - it seems to me that there will automatically be problems however well your equipment and staff are prepared.



Flown in: A30B,A306,A310,A319,A320,A321,A332,A333,A343,A346,A388,BA11,BU31,B190, B461,B462,(..51 types..),VC10,WESX
User currently offlineMHG From Germany, joined Dec 2004, 778 posts, RR: 1
Reply 42, posted (1 year 9 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2969 times:

Quoting Senchingo (Reply 23):
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.

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 to be allowed on secure grounds of the airport.
This allowes for a huge back-up in manpower / "anti-snow machinery" at relatively low cost.
Farmers are paid for stand-by (and active) times and maintenance/purchasing expenses.
The airport does not need to increase the workforce level just for a short period.

So, going back to LHR I don´t see a valid reason to shut down the airport entirely for an extended period (more than a day at max).
Operations certainly will be affected during heavy snow and a - probably large - number of flights need to be delayed/cancelled.
But that will happen everywhere since at low visibility separation of flights must be increased and clearing runways/taxiways/tarmacs takes some time.
Just closing down entirely for a longer period is unacceptable.

After all it is common knowledge how to tackle snow in western Europe.
What´s missing is the willingness to take approbiate action together with proper planning in good time at most places (and that´s by far not limited to the UK or airports in general ! )



I miss the sound of rolls royce darts and speys
User currently offlinereadytotaxi From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 3261 posts, RR: 2
Reply 43, posted (1 year 9 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 2921 times:

This this the REAL reason the current government is against a third runway at LHR, all that extra snow to clear?  


you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
User currently offlineLofty From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2008, 308 posts, RR: 0
Reply 44, posted (1 year 9 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2410 times:

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 stay closed until 2200Z last night.

With CPH and HAM very close to closing yesterday and AMS already having had problems last week, the question is are we seeing heavier snow than in the past. OR to use a UK saying "its the wrong type of snow"


User currently offlineTriple7X From Singapore, joined Dec 2012, 42 posts, RR: 0
Reply 45, posted (1 year 9 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2374 times:

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 resources to ensure 'minimal disruption to flights' during snowy weather?

Regards
Triple7X



1x Airbus A300B4-600R, 2x Airbus A330-300, 2x Boeing B777-300/-300ER, 4x Boeing 777-200/-200ER, 7x Airbus A320-200
User currently offliner2rho From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2630 posts, RR: 1
Reply 46, posted (1 year 9 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 2229 times:

Quoting Triple7X (Reply 45):

Shouldn't the government step in to regulate and ensure that all major airports in the UK has proper and adequate snow clearing resources to ensure 'minimal disruption to flights' during snowy weather?

It would certainly help to establish minimum performance targets in the concession contracts - including penalties for not achieving them.

It would also help if the EU changed its current regulations to make airports pay the compensations to stranded pax in these cases - during the last snow chaos winters and volcano eruptions, airlines have had to foot the bill.


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