|Quoting Ramerinianair (Thread starter):|
I am very interested in the LHR regulations and slots and how the UK is handeling the situation compared to the US.
Slot allocation at LHR
is not controlled by the airport's owner and operator, BAA plc or the British government. It is controlled by a company, Airport Co-ordination Ltd that is funded by but entirely independent of British airlines. ACL's web site may be found at:
ACL operates strictly within guidelines laid down by the UK government and the EU and slot allocation is strictly in line with EU guidelines.
At present there are about 470,000 slots in use at LHR
. The number available is legally limited to 480,000. This number was laid down by the Independent Chairman of the Public Inquiry that granted BAA planning permission under the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act to build Terminal 5.
However with the current mode of operation at LHR
a significantly greater number of slots than those currently in use would not be practical.
The current mode of operation is as follows:
Night time flying (between 0000 and 0600 hrs local time) is severely restricted for environmental reasons.
With a (prevailing) westerly wind one runway (27R or 27L) is used for arrivals between 0600 and 1500 hrs local time, the other for departures. At 1500 hrs the runways are switched. If 27R was used in Week one for morning and early afternoon arrivals it will be used in Week 2 for morning and early afternoon departures. (This arrangement is also for environmental reasons as the approach is from the City of London over the west London suburbs.)
With an easterly wind 09L will be used for most departures and 09R for most arrivals at all times of the day. (Again environmental considerations play a part. Although much of the land to the west of LHR
is country and not town, there are a greater number of buildings under the approach to 09R than 09L.)
It is understood that the UK government is preparing a paper for publication and subsequent discussion around Easter of this year suggesting a change to mixed mode operation at LHR
. This would result if adopted in runway 27L and 27R being used for both departures and arrivals at all times. This would increase the number of physically available slots by as much as 10 or even 15 per cent.
The increase would be achieved not just through more efficient runway use. Current aircraft using Terminal 4 must cross one of the active runways either to reach T4
on arrival or to reach the departure runway from T4
on departure unless they arrive before and depart after 1500 hours when they will have to cross no active runways one week and two active runways the following week.
However this (say) 10 per cent increase in capacity (to theoretically 517,000 slots) would in practice be restricted to the previously mentioned 480,000 slots. However the additional 10,000 slots available would certainly be useful in meeting any new UK / US Open Skies Agreement and the resulting demand from both US and EU airlines such as DL
for slots to serve US cities from LHR
I believe that the UK government is using this proposal to hurry up Open Skies discussions between the US and the EU. These seem to be bogged down on both sides. (Here our American friends should note that the EU objects legally to the current Bermuda 2 agreement because it prevents EU airlines like AF
operating routes like LHR
while I suspect that the US government is less than happy with this prospect.)
Clearly if there was an operational mode change at LHR
and no imminent Open Skies agreement the newly created slots would be used by other airlines for other routes. However when an Open Skies agreement was eventually signed airlines like LH
(who are LHR
's third biggest operator with 4.5 per cent of slots in 2004) could use some of their existing LHR
slots to introduce an LHR
service but the likes of CO
and US would be left out in the cold either with no slots or having to find the £20M that QF
are reported to have paid for a single LHR