View Full Version : Parallel Runway Operation at Heathrow?

1st May 2001, 15:26
I am not sure if this is news. It appeared in the DTel yesterday, and has been picked up by some of the news services today.

"THE Government is being urged to back research into the system of take-offs and landings at Heathrow to cut delays and increase the number of destinations.
The Civil Aviation Authority wants an environmental study into introducing parallel runway operations at the airport, which could allow more than 200 extra flights a day.

Pressure on ministers to ease air congestion is intensifying, with British Airways forecasting that by 2010 Heathrow will be demoted to Europe's number seven airport if nothing is done.

The change would mean both the airport's runways being used for landings simultaneously, with take-offs slotted in on each strip between touchdowns. At present, one runway is used for incoming aircraft and the other for departures.

Many large American airports have parallel operations. With advances in airport landing and aircraft navigation technologies, the system is seen as a safe way to increase runway use.

Adoption of the arrangement at Heathrow could allow both runways to operate as efficiently as Gatwick's single runway, which manages 49 take-offs or landings an hour, the highest rate in Europe.

This would improve Heathrow's capacity by a sixth, about 210 aircraft slots a day. This is at least a third of the improvement that would come from an extra runway.

In advice to ministers, the CAA describes the potential gains from parallel operation as "very worthwhile in terms of delaying the need for airport capacity elsewhere to be brought on stream".

The Government forecasts that demand for air travel will rise from 170 million passengers a year at present to 229 million by 2005 and 333 million by 2015.

Three quarters of travellers use airports in the South-East, where no new runways have opened since the Second World War."

1st May 2001, 15:55
Ever seen that programme "It'll never work"????? :)

200 extra flights a day?

Where do we put them???? Oh I forgot, Heathrow has ample stands for another 200 a day! Even when the Hotel stands are taken out of service later this year! ;)

So I presume that northbounds will depart, say, 27R, and southbounds on 27L. If not then it would be quite sporting! So can someone tell me how simple Ground will be when a southbounds taxies off R38, and a Northbound off K14, an inbound for N86 vacates 27L at block 81 and an inbound for J15 vactes 27R at block 10??? Without even considering towed traffic.

And what happens on Easterlies? I can't imagine that 09L departures would be permitted!

I assume that we would still use visual separation for parallel apps and departures? If so then think of the delays in even moderately poor weather, which happens quite often in this country!

Nope, we just haven't got the stands and taxiways to allow us to do it!

Although single runway ops is always fun!


[This message has been edited by Gonzo (edited 01 May 2001).]

Kyprianos Biris
1st May 2001, 19:37
Correct me if I'm wrong. There are very few cases when parallel rwy operations help in increase of capacity. It mainly has do do with ground handling capacity (taxiways, stands etc.)

I have been told that one rwy for departures and one for arrivals is the optimum configuration because it does not MIX different kind of flights (deps & arrs). Its this "mixing" which reduces capacity.

One for deps. and one for arrs. keeps a separated and organized flow of air and ground traffic.

Also I think Heathrow does not meet the 1500m parallel rwy distance requirement that is needed for such operations.

2nd May 2001, 00:39
For anyone interested in the mathematical analysis of the economics of mixed operation of twin runways versus separate operation (one runaway for take-offs, one for landings) the seminal author is G.F. Newall. I cannot remember which journal he published his paper in. It was either "Transportation Research" or "The Journal of Transport Economics and Policy".

The separate operation of runways won hands down over mixed operation.

5 APU's captain
2nd May 2001, 17:22
Nothing special!
There are no problems with parallel runways
as I can see in FRA or CPH.

2nd May 2001, 18:28
Sounds to me as if it was written by somebody who has not the slightest clue on the operation of Heathrow Airport. 200 extra flights a day? Certainly, if we dispense with the night noise restrictions but under current restrictions absolutely no way.

Dream on, baby..

2nd May 2001, 19:55
If my memory serves me right there were parallel runway operation trials at EGLL about 30 years ago. At that time I think the movements had to be staggered as the rwys were too close to allow correct separation.

Any one else remember?

Preferential rwy operation would save all that crossing by BA to get to T4!

Hew Jampton
2nd May 2001, 20:37
MrNosy is right - it was about 30 years ago (+/- 5 years). As well as horizontal staggering, one ILS was joined at 3000', the other at 2500' (I think). One crucial point was that all these parallel approaches were monitored by PAR to ensure that separation was maintained, especially checking for overswings when establishing. What will happen now there's no PAR?

[This message has been edited by Hew Jampton (edited 02 May 2001).]

3rd May 2001, 12:15
Is this an example of things to come? One radio report said it occurred when the same runway was operating for both take-offs and landings. From the BBC:

"An inquiry has been launched after two passenger jets were involved in a near miss at Heathrow.

One aircraft - a United airlines Boeing 747 inbound from Chicago - had to be given a last minute order to abort landing because a second plane had failed to take off and was still on the runway.

As he climbed away from the airport the United pilot suddenly reported that the Iberia plane had begun a take off run.

Controllers told the Iberia pilot four times to stop, as they were worried that he would take off into the path of the Boeing. But he failed to respond and the take off continued.

Only once he was airborne did the Iberia pilot acknowledge an order to turn out of the way.

National Air Traffic Services said there was no danger of a collision, but officials are to look into whether a full near miss investigation is needed.

An airport spokeswoman said the matter would be referred to the safety regulation group of the Civil Aviation Authority, but was not being classed as serious."

[This message has been edited by newswatcher (edited 03 May 2001).]

Hugh Jorgen
3rd May 2001, 18:31
Don't think it really matters - it will only be another hedging attempt by this wonderful, socialist, truthful, caring Government.
'So what is the Government doing about Heathrow'
'The right Honourable minister will be aware that we have established a consultative commitee to look at the problem, a think tank will be introduced and we will have a recommendation paper in place long after I have been found out and living in Bermuda'
'This is a legacy we have inherited from the previous Tory government ramble ramble @rse cover back track not my problem votes votes jobs for cronies election image spin spin what do you think Peter will the public notice'
They don't care a bit!!!!!!!!

[This message has been edited by Hugh Jorgen (edited 03 May 2001).]