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BAA Board; Isn't it about time at least one of them resigned?

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BAA Board; Isn't it about time at least one of them resigned?

Old 22nd Dec 2010, 06:20
  #101 (permalink)  

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I'm sceptical of any claim - usually made by those caught out, not performing or the press - that this is the worst weather since 1910, 1210 or 'since records were kept'. Fact is fact: the UK's short-termism - manifested by managers in industry, government and the military - costs the country in the long-term (or even sooner). It boils down to crap management; telling that LGW is doing better than LHR (I did some research into some aspects of ground handling at several airports in the UK earlier this year: LGW was by far the most cooperative and open of all those I visited).
Still, the boss at BAA will get a bonus this year; one trusts it will be for financial performance rather than customer service.
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 07:30
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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BUS429 SAID
Still, the boss at BAA will get a bonus this year; one trusts it will be for financial performance rather than customer service.
I suppose he deserves it for loosing only £200 million in the first nine months
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 08:16
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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Suzeman, I believe that the use of urea was banned for environmental reasons although why crystallised cattle pee should have a detrimental effect compared to chemical brews, I have no idea.
Back in the 1990s, I well remember an ops officer coming up on the ground frequency at Liverpool when he was telling us his plans for the runway before the forecast snow arrived. In strong scouse accent: "We're gonna welly it with urea!"
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 09:09
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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Leaving aside the ineptitude and lack of preparedness for snow by BAA, there is no excuse for not having a business continuity plan to cater for all the passengers stranded.
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 11:45
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by mech assassin View Post
Who would rather BAA rushed, did a bad job and a accident occured injuring or killing passengers, crew, ground staff or neighbours?
Don't be ridiculous, all the rest of the airports elsewhere which have had far more snow than Heathrow's in recent days, and handled it properly, managed to do so without such incidents either.
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 12:25
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by mech assassin View Post
The European network isn't disrupted significantly if Helsinki were to close
But It Never Does. How many times do we have to say this.

OK, if you ask them they will say (with a smile) that there was one time in 2003 when they had to close - for 30 minutes !

because it's not a major hub
I guess you've never been there. It's a surprisingly large and busy place. And certainly a hub. Notably full of Asian passengers transferring on to Europe. It has a very pleasant restaurant on an upper mezzanine in departures from where you can look out and see how to handle airfield ops in winter. Do go and have a look.
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 12:43
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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An Alternative 12 days of Christmas?

1st. LHRs snow fleet is larger than Gatwicks....
Do you have a public source for this? I accept that the BBC report maybe wrong, but it would be nice to see evidence of this.

2nd. LHR only needed to compliment its current fleet with £500K, rather than LGW completely updating their whole fleet.
Why was this? LGW was, until recently, owned by BAA. Had they failed to invest sufficiently in updating and maintaining snow clearing equipment? Or have the new owners of LGW set a higher standard than that accepted by BAA?

3rd. Gatwick has closed more often and for longer than LHR this year.... they have had more snow overall.
More snow, more closures is logical. Have they stayed close for excessively long periods though?


4th. All airfields affected by this level of snow have closed and remained closed until it was safe to reopen.
And quite rightly so. The contention is that LHR has remained closed for too long, due to lack of snow clearing capability and lack of proper planning. No one would argue that operations should be suspended if conditions are unsafe.


5th. BAA is a commercial organisation... constrained by political regulation capping profits and driving availability unrealistically high... hence almost at full capacity, with capital investment prioritised to improve volume rather than contingency.
Well stop paying dividends and re-invest that money in vital equipment.


6th. The airlines are responsible for their own operation.... contracting; dispatch, towing, loading, baggage handling, check-in, engineering and anti-icing aircraft and looking after their customers - the passengers.
Accepted by most I think.


7th. BAA treats everyone as a customer, so when the airline ignores or fails to provide for its passengers they step in to help with their own contingency plans.
Can you give an example?

8th. Why should the Government provide assitance... did they offer the same to Gatwick when they snow closed? BAA is a commercial organisation, albeit over-regulated.
Ask that question to the passengers at LHR.

9th. What contingencies did the airlines put in place to operate when the airfield is closed? How did they look after their customers?
They cannot operate from or to a closed airfield. Therein lies the problem. How well they looked after their pax will vary from operator to operator I imagine. Another question is what information was given to the airlines by BAA?


10th. What assistance did the airlines provide to BAA to help snow clear around their aircraft or on stands?
Why should they help? The airlines are BAA's customers after all. They pay for the "privilege" of operating from LHR, not to do BAA's job for them. Would you offer to cook your own meal in a restaurant? Would you offer to clean your own room in an hotel? Don't you think the airlines have enough to do already dealing with all the delays and cancellations?

11th. Whats with berating individuals.... a companies failing, is a companies failing... not just the CEOs. Colins not broad enough to do any real damage with a shovel.
I'm not personally doing that but I can understand why people do. If a company fails to deliver there is always a reason for it. CEO's are ultimately responsible for the running of the company, ergo, they are responsible for success or failure are they not?

12th. Who would rather BAA rushed, did a bad job and a accident occured injuring or killing passengers, crew, ground staff or neighbours?
No one obviously.

Merry Christmas.
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 13:28
  #108 (permalink)  

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Isn't it about time someone recognised that airports such as LHR and LGW are not just commercial enterprises but also a fundamental part of the economy of the UK.

The airport should plan for and be legally required to have sufficient snow clearing equipment and materials available to keep the airport open in the most severe of winter weather. The fact that it would be little used in 9 out of 10 years is irrelevant.

It is a fact that closing an airport actually makes operating more difficult as aircraft remain on stands causing additional problems in clearing them. They must work on keeping runways, taxiways and stands open by having the equipment available to keep the snow at manageable levels.

We have all flown into airports such as Munich and Zürich where conditions are worse than that experienced on the day at LHR yet the airports remained open. The reality is that simply remaining open and aircraft arriving and departing does much to reduce the amount of snow on the movement areas.

Possibly the biggest mistake was BA announcing that they were cancelling their flights on Saturday, it they hadn't it would have forced BAA to keep their clearing efforts at full strength. It would also have vacated stands and allowed them to be cleared.
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 13:54
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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I agree that the fiascos at our airports and on our rail network are a national embarassment. However, the excuse "the wrong kind of snow" does have some validity. We hear much about Calgary, Helsinki and Zurich and their snow clearing efficiencies, but their temperatures are very much lower than we get. I trained near Calgary (Red Deer). When it snowed it was either blown off the runway or just rolled and we flew off it. At very low temperatures rolled snow has most of the properties of concrete and cold snow is powdery and easily blown. The trouble is our snow is aways fairly close to zero, it takes very little pressure to turn it to liquid and subsequently refreeze and stick to the surface as ice, and at UK temperatures the snow is normally wet and blowing is not an option. I don't know the answer but I thought it was only fair to point out that, just because our temperatures don't go that low, we must be incompetent is just not true; it is actually the reverse.
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 15:19
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by pontifex View Post
...the excuse "the wrong kind of snow" does have some validity. We hear much about Calgary, Helsinki and Zurich and their snow clearing efficiencies, but their temperatures are very much lower than we get.
This is yet another Urban Myth for me to overcome. Yes, at these places the nadir is well below what might be experienced in Britain, accompanied by dry, powdery snow (ie no good for snowballs). But in the shoulders of the winter, in November-December, or in March, the temperatures are very much what we currently have in London - just the quantities of "British style" saturated snow are much more than we get.
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 15:20
  #111 (permalink)  
 
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Mr Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow operator BAA, said: "We've had unacceptable conditions for passengers in the last few days. I'm responsible and I've decided not to take my bonus for 2010."

Would have been better to buy a couple of snow ploughs

Re the old excuse of "The wrong type of snow" this is crap and just an excuse. Last week in Southern Sweden a low came in, the temperature rose to around zero and around 20cm of snow came down - wet and heavy. Then the temperature dropped to -15 and it froze solid but the airports remained open as did the roads.

Re Helsinki not being a hub tell that to DHL and their overnight operations for Nokia
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 15:22
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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And why should the 'army' (for army read HM Forces) be ordered in to bail out a profit making foreign company?
If they (BAA) act as incompetently as this then send them in with an appropriate invoice. A big one!
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 17:25
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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Mech assasin...your posts are reasoned...but do trend towards that "Heathrow is more complex than anywhere else" line

infrastructure as commercially and nationally complex and important as LHR
If this is indeed the case then surely a snow clearing plan for somewhere this stategically important and "complicated on the ground" should show a little bit more nous than the one you listed.
People don't like comparisons but you are going to get them because the Chicagos, New Yorks and Toronto's are as complex with similar movements...and yet are equipped to deal with the problem and do not CLOSE.
With an efficient plan in place LHR should never have to close. I hope no one with any common sense would advocate operating at near capacity in snow conditions...but you can still run a limited operation.
So when the weather forecast for Saturday was in the pipeline did the airlines or the BAA think...perhaps we better put a ground delay in, limit the flights, give ourselves a chance to move?....or did they operate at the 98% capacity figure that has been mentioned on this topic?
If it is the latter...then there is no chance of any success for snow clearance and the same thing will happen time after time...and the same line about Heathrow's complexties will be trotted out.

I don't even want to get into the discussions about "different snow" and "cold temperatures" because basically what the BAA and the airlines are saying is that their "plan" only covers one type of situation or contaminant.

Why should this be a topic whenever it snows. There are enough airports around the world that could provide help, planning, advice on what to do....yet either the airport/airlines brass don't listen or think that their airport is "unique".
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Old 22nd Dec 2010, 21:43
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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Quote:
11th. Whats with berating individuals.... a companies failing, is a companies failing... not just the CEOs. Colins not broad enough to do any real damage with a shovel.

Because as CEO of this shower of Sh+te he's paid a darn site more than you or I to take responsibility for his (lack of) actions!

Last edited by Wiggly Bob; 22nd Dec 2010 at 21:51. Reason: poor spelling. C-
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Old 23rd Dec 2010, 01:35
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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A couple of points, first the losses due to the closure do they outweigh the cost of the investment required to get proper equipment and expertise to be able to keep Heathrow operative in such conditions?

However another probably less thought over issue, is the infrastructure surrounding the airports operations, if all other surrounding transport is brought to a standstill, how will crew, and other airport workforce be able to go to and from the airport? Within reasonable time limits, this is a secondary issue of the whole problem.

Uk needs to have complete contingency to deal with these kind of issues, as it seems they will becoming more and more frequent in the future.
It is no good if you can keep the runways, taxi ways and aprons clear, if you do not have staff being able to get to and from the airport due to complete break down in the transport network.

The fact is that there was pretty good forecasts of what was going to happen, yet nothing was prepared to meet the events that occurred. I previously lived in Norway, and if such events would cripple the nation, you might as well have closed down the country for 4 months of the year, and it would have been complete economical meltdown.

Privaticing the airport operations was the first major mistake, as the revenue made from the airport operations would have sustained the investment to get the equipment required and the training required of workforce to know what they should do in these events. However a profit driven BAA, will look at it as an acceptable loss, unless they are punished for breach of contract for not being able to keep the airport fully operational.
I do find it laughable to such conditions have created such chaos.
I personally was surprised by National Express, who had suspend all their buses from 1Pm on Saturday, I came from Stansted in the afternoon, and was told no buses by them available, while other companies was still driving from Stansted into London.

This I feel is unacceptable, as the roads was drivable on this stretch, as I took the bus from another company into Victoria.

Simple precautions that people in general can make are getting all season tires, they are not perfect for winter, but are much better than the normal tired they driving around with now.#
Secondly people in Scandinavia have courses in how to drive on winter roads and icy conditions, people in the UK are like "babies" learning to walk, and not even having some common sense of how dangerous these conditions really are unless you have some experience and the right equipment on your car.
I was astonished to see who people was racing past on icy slush/snow/mud - probably not being aware of that if they touched their brakes they would end up in the barrier of the road if lucky!!!

Now I am not sure how London can become standstill with few inches of snow, lack of experience, and refusal to learn are the main reasons!
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Old 23rd Dec 2010, 06:59
  #116 (permalink)  
 
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MagicTiger said
Secondly people in Scandinavia have courses in how to drive on winter roads and icy conditions, people in the UK are like "babies" learning to walk, and not even having some common sense of how dangerous these conditions really are unless you have some experience and the right equipment on your car.
Here in Sweden not only are winter tyres mandatory from December to March, you must spend a day on the skid pan and pass the skid test before you can get a licence.
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Old 23rd Dec 2010, 10:32
  #117 (permalink)  

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Interesting article in today's Telegraph quoting Lufthansa as not amused. Apparently airlines offer of staff to clear stands was turned down on Health and Safety issues.
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Old 23rd Dec 2010, 10:38
  #118 (permalink)  
 
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Not only am i surprised Colin Matthews has given up his bonus,i'm more suprised he got a bonus in the first place-for what ?
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Old 23rd Dec 2010, 14:22
  #119 (permalink)  
 
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Probably for improving profitability. Good job he didn't dash out and buy more snow ploughs, it might have affected his bonus!
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Old 23rd Dec 2010, 15:44
  #120 (permalink)  
 
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Not only am i surprised Colin Matthews has given up his bonus,i'm more suprised he got a bonus in the first place-for what ?
For making the shareholders lots and lots of money. Shame his bonus isn't purely linked to customer (airlines and passengers) satisfaction.
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