33lspotter
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Posts: 435
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:37 pm

Heathrow 09L Takeoffs: How often do they happen?

Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:14 pm

Looking at Twitter this morning, I saw a Tweet saying that LHR would be using 09L for both takeoffs and landings for around a half-hour in order to clear snow from 09R. As a USA-based spotter with a particular interest in LHR ops, I know that this is quite a rare phenomenon, and was prohibited (except for extenuating circumstances) until the repeal of the Cranford agreement around 2010. As it were, I checked FR24 and found that a number of flights from today took off from 09L, including a BA 744 bound for SAN (BA273) and a VS 789 bound for LAX (VS23).

My understanding is that -- while the Cranford agreement is no more -- 09L takeoffs from Heathrow are still quite rare due to inadequate taxiway space at the west end of the north runway, although I believe there are plans to build taxiways that would mitigate this. I also recall a statistic that Heathrow is on westerly ops (27R/27L) 70% of the time, meaning that just 30% of ops are easterly (using 09L/09R). However, ultimately, I am curious as to how often (even anecdotally) do 09L takeoffs happen on average? One day a month? One day a year? Once every few years? Again, I know they're rare, but not much more than that.
 
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TedToToe
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:43 pm

Re: Heathrow 09L Takeoffs: How often do they happen?

Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:48 pm

I think that you have summarised 09L/R ops very well. Anecdotally, I fly out of LHR 30 to 40 times a year and cannot ever remember taking off from 09L.
 
RobertPhoenix
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:00 am

Re: Heathrow 09L Takeoffs: How often do they happen?

Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:30 pm

In my experience taking off to the east in summer means that London is experiencing a heat wave. Taking off to the east in winter means that London is having a rather cold spell. The land to the east experiences greater changes in temperature than the sea to the west. Siberia versus the gulf stream.
 
ZeeZoo
Posts: 283
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:30 am

Re: Heathrow 09L Takeoffs: How often do they happen?

Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:44 pm

They happen fairly often, believe it or not, after 10.30PM for easterly operations. Especially the summer, not sure why that is (weather better for night maintenance of Southern runway?).

So I'd say, after 10.30PM, you'd find 09L being used a good (roughly) 20 times within a year.
 
ZeeZoo
Posts: 283
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2015 9:30 am

Re: Heathrow 09L Takeoffs: How often do they happen?

Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:47 pm

Further on that, when you get the odd delayed jet taking off at 12/1am, and its easterly operations, there's a good chance it'll take off from 09L.

Source: Someone who can spot easterly departures from his bedroom perfectly.
 
Lofty
Posts: 613
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 5:23 pm

Re: Heathrow 09L Takeoffs: How often do they happen?

Sat Mar 03, 2018 1:50 pm

As already said 09L is only used once in a blue moon when 09R is not in use as in this case Snow Clearance or when 09R is closed for maintenance which takes place after 2300.

The reason is due to the lack of taxiways down that end of the airport due to stands 501 to 505 being too closed.
 
uta999
Posts: 499
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:10 am

Re: Heathrow 09L Takeoffs: How often do they happen?

Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:00 pm

Heathrow Airport has a planning application in for the construction of three new holding points and three 90-degree taxiways onto 09L. This would mirror what has already been done at both ends of the southern runway. 27L/09R.

The stands to the north of T5 do not impact this plan, and there are no longer any restrictions on 09L use. Once complete limited departures from both runways simultaneously would follow. This would be limited to one hour, as it is for arrivals each morning 6-7am. This is subject to planning being approved and the outcome of any third runway inquiry.
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