View Full Version : Yes to third runway at LHR!!

20th Sep 2002, 16:29
Having watched BBC London News' report this lunchtime about the possible third runway at LHR, I got to thinking:

Does pprune have an official position on this?
Why don't we voice it? (The media often pick up on things said on here)
Don't let those compaigning against expansion have a bigger voice!!!

What do people think? After all, pprune is for those in the aviation industry, who better to campaign for expansion than us!!

Milly Bar
20th Sep 2002, 16:39
There’s an online poll concerning the Governments proposals for new Runways/Airports in the UK here (


20th Sep 2002, 17:40
I don't think it's for PPRuNe to have an "official position". Who would decide what "our" official position would be? Danny? I don't think Danny would want to force his opinions on the rest of us. (Well, some of his opinions, maybe, but not in this context ;) )

If you have an opinion, post it! (I mean this in the general sense, not specifically with regard to this thread, because you already have!) Once enough people post on any subject, the general feeling amongst the industry (assuming that PPRuNers are representative of the industry) will be well represented.


20th Sep 2002, 19:12
Heathrow already has a third runway its at London (Birmingham) Airport the taxiway is marked M40 you can't miss it!

20th Sep 2002, 20:01
LHR has 3 operational runways already!
and all within the airport boundry!

20th Sep 2002, 20:06
The 3rd parallel-ish runway must be a dead cert. If you look at the 1st page of the SIDs on the Jeppesen of LHR it's on there already.

t'aint natural
20th Sep 2002, 21:03
The world is changing faster than the government, the airlines or anyone else involved in aviation strategy can plan.
Too much has been invested in hubs, supposedly serving the entire country. Low cost airlines are prospering not only because they're cost effective, but because they tend to fly from where the people live to where they want to go to.
My family live in southern Scotland, a day's journey from Heathrow. Increasingly they choose to travel to places they can reach from Edinburgh, Newcastle or Glasgow. For long distance, Amsterdam and Dublin are easier to reach than Heathrow, and you don't get ripped off in quite the same way.
The majority of the UK population live nowhere near the UK's three main airports. Is it possible that dinosaur airports will go the way of dinosaur airlines?

Sir George Cayley
20th Sep 2002, 21:21
IMO the parallel RWY at LHR decision should wait until a full open skies policy is in place across all UK airports.

I say this because the 3 London Airports traffic figures are artificially inflated by regional pax denied point to point services from their airports because of government bilateral agreements, BAA policy and a certain airline's parochialness.

As an example take the UK - Japan air service agreement. Correct me if I'm wrong but Heathrow is the only airport offering direct services (BA, VS & JAL). Given the extent of Japanese investment throughout the UK in Scotland the Northwest and Wales is it right that all flights from these areas begin with a domestic flight to LHR?

If one were to subtract all the UK regional pax forced to use the London Three plus all the intercontinental transfer pax funnelled through London due to bilaterals, what effect would that have on the BAA's growth predictions.?

For years Aviation Ministers and BAA Chief Execs have stated that Heathrow is the airport of choice for passengers but funnily enough I've never met a traveller that agrees!

I believe there will be more jobs created for both pilots, cc and ground support staff through enhancing the availability of services from the whole of the UK not through centralisation at the capitals airports.

Sir George Caley

The air is a navigable ocean that laps at everyone's door

20th Sep 2002, 22:23
Sir George

I expect you are factually correct however as things currently stand:

Movement capacity at Heathrow balances exactly with the approved slots. If anything happens to reduce that capacity, even for a short period of the day, the Heathrow ATC staff come under a great deal of pressure for the rest of it.

Just the other evening we were forced by Tower staff numbers to go to 4 mile inbound spacing for a couple of hours. We had been landing low 40s per hour with virtually no holding. As soon as we opened up the gaps delays started to build and were sustained at over 20 minutes for some time.

In my time at Heathrow I have seen long term runway closure (hours) caused by aircraft incidents on a number of occasions, VIR, KLM, DLH. I have witnessed Heathrow sustain 62 per hour off the remaining runway for 4 hours, in awful weather. That sort of pressure leads to danger and it is not right that the ATC system is being asked to make up for Governments' unwillingness to give us the SPARE capacity we need. Spare is somehow seen as waste rather than a safety bolthole.

The first hour of the day often sees landing rates sustained in excess of 50 per hour as we land both runways... but through a single final director. That is nearly 20% more than he would usually handle with no additional r/t or thinking capacity.

On safety grounds alone Heathrow needed additional runway capacity 5 years ago. Irrespective of what decision HMG comes to over future growth, Heathrow must have additional capacity now. Corners are already being cut.

Point 4


Whipping Boy's SATCO
21st Sep 2002, 07:49
I guess that If they build a third parallel at Heathrow that will force the closure of Northolt. Any space out there for 14 000 biz jet moves?

Jet II
21st Sep 2002, 08:26
I have to agree totally with Sir George - I have never met anyone who wanted to travel through LHR, it is in the wrong place for the majority of the country and is exremely difficult to get to reliably due to the massive congestion on the roads in that part of the southeast.

On just the enviromental grounds any extra runway must be stopped - have you seen how much of central London would be under tha new flightpath.

As for the safety argument - if the capacity is such that movements become dangerous, then reduce the capacity (ie less slots). What will you do when the extra capacity generated by a 3rd runway is used up - build a 4th?


21st Sep 2002, 10:11
Build an airport at Cliffe
Why continue building on congested ground at Heathrow, with a grid locked road network and less than desirable flight paths, when Cliffe has potential for a great road, rail, sea network , with approaches/departures over the water.
Look at the evidence, there is only one logical answer to the shortfall in capacity for airtravel in the future...It's on the Hoo peninsular!

21st Sep 2002, 10:46
Sir George,

So, are you suggesting that airlines operate city to city flights from smaller airports (eg: Edinburgh to NY or Newcastle to Tokyo)? Main problem with this is not enough demand at the smaller airports to support their own service (and hence hub airports have developed) and also these airports don't have large enough runways! Why spread out the noise pollution when it can be kept relatively confined to a few areas?

Also, whilst LHR might not be the best loctaion for a lot of UK residents, if it cannot maintain its current status, people will use Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome or Madrid as their hub instead! The current system ain't likely to change, so isn't it better that Britain prospers, rather than lose business to foreign countries.

Jet II,

It may just be me but I would personally prefer to travel on a British (or english as first language) airline. If I need to fly to a hub then I'd prefer it to be in my own country! I've flown to Toronto via Paris - saved myself £60! But what with the 2 hour layover in CDG and the lack of inflight entertainment in english (although I found Air France's service to be of a high standard), I would have preferred to fly direct from LHR or LGW, especially on the return leg when the last thing I wanted was to sit around CDG for 90 minutes when I was desperate to get home and get to bed!!

Also, the current congestion at LHR isn't caused by too many slots, too many aircraft or even ATC, it's caused by lack of gates and stands for the aircraft. Nearly every arriving flight at LHR goes on to a stand very very very recently vacated, or in a lot of cases, has to wait for their stand to become available! T5 will not massively increase LHR's capacity, it should simply ease congestion on the ground by having more stands available.

Also, as capacity will not be changing a lot, the third runway will simply distribute the current movements across an additional runway. The third runway is also only planned to be 2000feet (only big enough for light and medium aircraft), which if you know about how atc control departures from airports (by grouping similar sized a/c together to reduce the vortex separations) will make LHR more efficient and reduce the time a a/c is sitting on the ground, burning fuel whilst it queues to depart.

21st Sep 2002, 12:10
Does anyone know of a site where detailed informantion on the third runway proposal is published?

21st Sep 2002, 12:11

Do you mean a 2000 metre Runway?

21st Sep 2002, 14:37
lhr was originally planned on a star of david pattern(if you ever watch dr strangelove there an overhead picture of lhr in the generals office), and the runways were built but i dont know if they were ever used. personally i would build the 3 extra runways at stn and shut lhr down. and as for northolt i think the politicians like having their own little airport where they dont have to meet the electorate.

21st Sep 2002, 15:29
The government would be backing a loser (in my humble opinion) if it were to try and push through the Cliffe option. If they argue that the bird sancturary will not be disturbed then they would leave themselves wide open to the air safety lobby. Well would you fancy ingesting a flock of wading birds into your engines. If the birds will in no way be disturbed and as the wetlands are home to several thousand wetland birds this must be a very significant risk. Any publicity of this risk will have an adverse effect on passenger confidence.

Infrastructure in the region is good for the amount of traffic using it at the moment. But the development of the Hoo peninsula is high up on the list of objectives in the Medway Local Plan and is being pushed by the Thames gateway organisation. Projected traffic figures could make the infrastructure have the same sort of problems as the M25/M4 junction has now. The Hoo peninsula is surrounded on three sides by water leaving open only one side (bridges excepted) for the traffic flows into and out of the site. Not really an ideal place for an airport then.

Would be interested to hear pilot's views on the impact that the airport at Cliffe would have on existing flightpaths in the area.

Would love to see the UK really attempting to compete with Schiphol, CDG et al to maintain their position as a competitive international hub.


Jet II
21st Sep 2002, 16:12

If you re-read 120.4's posting you will see that he is saying that the problem is too many slots for the runway capacity.

As for the argument that LHR must be bigger than any european hub - the UK is the 4th biggest economy in the world and can support a large aviation industry on its own. With the growth in air travel by the residents of the UK there will be a need for more capacity - but to say that we must continue to be the biggest transfer hub for Europe does not take account of the fact that transferring large numbers of PAX does not make enviromental sense. You yourself AlphaCharlie say that you would prefer point to point routes.

London has 3 major international airports - if LGW and STN were each given one extra runway this would total 6, enough for any forseable growth in the medium term. This option would also spread the load on the infrastructure of the South East.

If you do go ahead and build an extra runway at LHR, it will not be long before there will be a clamour to have it rebuilt to a full length runway, then there will be the requirement for it to have its own terminal - where does it stop (we have already seen the backpeddling over commitments given during the T5 enquiry and the thing isn't even built yet!).

There is already zero unemployment in the surrounding area so any increase in jobs (T5 and the extra runway estimated at up to 15,000) will require more people to come and live in the most congested part of England with the added load on the crumbling infrastructure of the South East.

21st Sep 2002, 17:39
Firstly, yes I did mean 2000 metre runway (not 2000 feet).

Jet II, yes I do prefer point to point flights, but guess what, I live 15 miles north of LGW and 20 miles from LHR, so at present I do get point to point flights. I was trying to say that it would be a shame to lose those flights to another airport and therefore have to travel via a hub. My other point was that whilst hub to hub travel exists, isn't it better than the UK maintains a major hub airport!!

I also think that LGW should be an option for expansion! I know that there's an agreement with locals until 2019, but come on...

21st Sep 2002, 18:56
The ideal would be to shut LHR and go massive at STN. It would satisfy many needs e.g. Noise and polution over a heavily populated area and reduce the danger of accidents over the same. From an ATC point of view it would free up a huge chunk of airspace and allow the TMA to 'breath' by reducing the interaction of routes between the airports. But it is politically unlikely.

If memory serves, each arrival into Heathrow gets an average of a couple of minutes delay. 230,000 arrivals each year adds up to a lot of holding and there is a significant environmental cost to that. Holding at low level burns much fuel and consequently adds significantly to the CO2 in the environment. Have the environmentalists considered that an additional runway would all but remove that completely?

It has been written that when a mid-air occurs it will most likely be in one of the Heathrow holds. It seems that a majority of the incidents happen there. A third runway would see their use all but disappear.

Heathrow needs a piece of airspace 40 miles by 25 miles to meet two runway capacity and it is now suggested they build 4 parallels just east of Detling? Where is it suggested we put the traffic that is already using that airspace and the airpsace which feeds it? From an ATC point of view, Cliffe is a non-starter.

Aside from all that and irrespective of the choices HMG makes for the future the issue of loading on LHR still needs to be addressed. O'hare has seven runways and uses 4 at any time, at a rate of 35 per hour. That is 140 movements per hour and about 75 m pax. Heathrow pushes nearly 100 per hour off is two available runways (96 is the recent record and that only contained 40 inbounds) and does about 62 m pax. O'hare (7), Schipol (5), CDG (4) and most of the other "majors" all have runway redundancy which protects their capacity from strong wind or closure.

In each of the last 2 quarterly bulletins from the Local ATC examiners there were in the order of 22 incidents in TC. Over 50% of them occured on just one of the 12 sectors - Heathrow and it is a growing trend. That ought to be sounding alarm bells loud and clear, but it seems nobody is listening.

The T5 enquiry was told that "just" 8 % additional movements would satisfy its needs. Where are they expected to go? Even if it were theoretically possible to fit them in where has the idea of a safety bolthole gone in this service that is supposed to put safety first?

As I said yesterday, on safety grounds alone LHR needed runway redundancy years ago and it is negligent of us to have ignored that. Lets hope we continue to get away with it.

Point 4

Jet II
22nd Sep 2002, 07:29

The ideal would be to shut LHR and go massive at STN

I think that we are all agreed that LHR is in the wrong place but going 'massive' at STN is surely only going to blight a different area of the South East.

I think that we have just got to get used to the fact that in the UK we do not have vast amounts of available land for these mega airports. We have inherited a situation where most of the major international airports are concentrated in the most populated and congested part of the country and will have to do the best with what we have - even if this means dropping out of the race to have the biggest/best airport.

I would take a lot of convincing that an extra runway at LHR would be necessary just to allow redundancy for the amount of available slots - if we had another runway you can be sure that movements would soon increase and we would be back in the same unsafe situation but with 3 runways.

If there is an unsafe situation due to the amount of movements, then surely slot resrictions are the answer - then maybe the airlines may be persuaded to offer more services from the regional airports.

22nd Sep 2002, 08:04
Agreed. Slot restriction is the answer to make sure that this wouldn't happen again but that still leaves us with a 2 runway airport which is handling 3 runway traffic. The fact that we are manageing to shift it off just 2 runways is testament to the prople who do it. (Personally I think we should have been more willing in years gone by to say "no". It is only our willingness to say "yes" that has got us here.)

We did have distribution rules but the government relaxed them back in 1990 (ish) on the grounds of open and fair trade. That would have been a perfectly reasonable decision had there been sufficient growth capacity where it was wanted. It is certainly a fair argument that we are a small island and don't have the room for a huge airports but that is not my point.

My point is that whatever the ideal might be, given that we find ourselves in these circumstances we have to do something about it, now. If they aren't prepared to reduce the number of current slots then they have to build another runway.

Point 4

22nd Sep 2002, 13:20
If LHR does get a new runway, I don't fancy doing Ground!

Point 4 is right, year on year there is an gradual increase in traffic. There has been no increase in runway capacity AFAIK, so that means more delays, and traffic still about later on into the night. I can remember only a few years ago Clearance Delivery and Ground could usually be bandboxed on to one frequency between 2130 and 2200, and same went for Arrivals and Departures. Now all four positions are still open at 2200, and the two 'late stays' off the afternoon shift who cover for possible sickness on the night shift more often than not stay on to 2230, or even later, because it is just too busy to bandbox. And that's on a regular day, with no incident/runway closure, bad weather or horrendous slot delays.

Terminal capacity is another, although in some ways related, issue. It wasn't helped by BA bringing a load of long hauls over from Gatwick. T4 is, well, I'm going to use the word 'challenge'! On the ground the other day there were 5 BA 747s and 777s all waiting, with NO stand allocated, let alone just waiting for another aircraft to vacate it! Looked just like a day at Davis Monthan!


22nd Sep 2002, 14:51
Not a very good standard of service is it.

Point 4

22nd Sep 2002, 16:09
Having read all the posts in this thread, I can but agree with the saftey issue. Sadly the problem has been outsourced by both the Tories and New Labour. Firstly, by selling off BAA and now NATS. When the prang occurs, they will blame others.

I now make the old chestnut suggestion ... Notholt as a satellite of LHR. :)

1) To the Environmentalists: No new runways. Reduced holding and taxi times, saving fuel emissions. Less chance of a mid-air. Not one single square metre of new land taken over. :)

2) To the residents around Northolt: Yes your noise levels will increase, so here is some money. You can take the money and leave or you can take the money and stay. But if you stay SHUT UP! :cool:

3) Yes, some property around Northolt will drop which can only be a good thing, as we do not have enough cheap property in that part of London. :)

4) Some property will actually INCREASE in value, due to the new access and proximity to LHR. :)

5) Build a new tunnel to main Paddington / LHR Express junction so that you can run dedicated service to Paddington and to LHR. The service from satellite to main will be free for those travelling that day but payable by all others. Since the Express leaves LHR for Paddington every 15 minutes, there is plenty of time to slot in four departures at the mid-point of those departures.

6) The politicos and military get a new tent on the far side of the field so that they don't have to mix with <shudder> real people. ;)

7) Build a new terminal at Northolt, dedicated for anything from J41 sort of twins, through BizJets up to (?) 757/A320 (?) depending upon runway length at Northolt, which I do not know.

8) Build dedicated drop off lines for taxi's/cars which are marked and ruthlessly policed for those that cannot read, "Hand Luggage Only" and "Self-check-in ONLY" :rolleyes:

9) Because of the expansion to LHR with T5 and the new satellite, BAA compelled to sell off LGW. That is because the mgmt would be strained by the new work of building and running all of this, not to mention the competition aspects. :p

Would this assist the ATC and ground handling issues at LHR?

22nd Sep 2002, 16:41
It has always seemed odd to me that we all have to go through Heathrow (and sometimes Gatwick) to go anywhere internationally.

The UK isn't a very large country in terms of area and distance between major cities and there are lots of airports across the nation.

My home (when I am in the UK) is in Cornwall. There are two perfectly good airfields within reasonable distance from the Duchy. One is Exeter (with full time Customs representation) and the other is Newquay (Saint Mawgan) which can be easily serviced by Customs Officers from Falmouth (indeed, it occasionally is as I can attest from past experience!). The latter is, I know, a military base but it is also a major MDA and has been operating as a regional airport for Brymon/BA for many years. There is absolutely no reason at all why both these airports could not be better utilised internationally.

I'm sure the same goes for countless airports across the country.

Why can't the airlines spread the load more? What is this insistance that they must get as close as possible to central London?

Leave aside the foreign visitors for the moment and just concentrate on the hundreds of thousands of Brits who make their living by working overseas and who, on average, return to the UK on leave two to three times a year. They don't all live near London.

Pprune is read by many in the airline industry. Could we have some feedback from the airlines on this issue perhaps?

22nd Sep 2002, 20:22
I think that you will find the problem of running International (Europe or further afield) is simply one of frequency.

For some routes from Exeter (acting as a regional collector) one rotation a week would be all the pax that they could regularly get in one place at one time. The cost of setting up a route for once a week is not going to balance.

For the bizpax to be interested, for say Europe, you have to have a morning and evening rotation to make it possible to do a day trip. If you don't run six days a week, skipping Saturday, then you will not get biz pax in enough quantities.

Brymon, in their independent days, were perfect of course as were other small British operations. They could make their money feeding into LHR and folks could make the connection easily. Everyone was happy.

Then the politicians would not allow a third runway and slots became the currency of the last two decades. BA just kept on buying slots, sorry I mean competing air lines, as they could not buy slots directly. They did this last year with Manx. Shifted the routes to LGW - as they did with Brymon. They then get some long haul slots and immediately ensure that the connecting passengers who might have wanted to go on those flights - have to connect from LGW/LTN/STN/LCY and so start looking around! :rolleyes:

Your only hope is that Bristol Lulsgate expands a little further, as you can, I think, connect to it from Cornwall?

I can but say, route the feeding flights to Northolt then you have a short ride on a comfy air-coditioned train to a choice of five terminals for your departures.

On this hobby-horse, does anyone know the sort of percentage split between UK and International at LHR? My thought is that N'holt becomes domestic only, with no customs facilities.

22nd Sep 2002, 21:30
Pax at LHR, broadly speaking:

International circa50m (sig. percentage interlining), Domestic circa12m.

The Northolt idea is by no means out of the question. It has been investigated in the recent past . Some of the discussion revolved around the re-alignment of the runway to make it more compatible with LHR.

Point 4

22nd Sep 2002, 21:41
Northolt is only 5500 feet so this might pose some operating restrictions..

23rd Sep 2002, 11:46
Last time the govt said they would build somewhere new, it was on Maplin Sands I think. Quietly during all the political posturing, they were building three lanes of M11 up to Stansted and two beyond to Cambridge. Then guess what? The airport that was developed was Stansted. This time they talk about Cliffe, and all the time a new terminal (I think) and junction improvments are being carried out at STN. It will be STN not Cliffe.

Secondly, there is spare capacity it STN and a bit at LGW. Given that there are not going to be longhaul services out of regional airports in a big way due to lack of demand, we are going to have to go to hub airports. Why not make all three London airports effectively one, but putting a triangular HIGH SPEED rail link between them, which is seamless to the pax (no need to pick up bags etc) and only takes 1/2 and hour and runs regularly (and is free). At the moment getting the bus from LGW to LHR is a real bind and takes ages, if I could do it in 30 mins it is just like a normal transfer and no longer a problem. It would then solve the BA type problems of two hubs and duplication of service. LHR could then become all longhaul and STN and LGW could become all shothaul, with the advantages of airports more tailored to aircraft size.

I think that the government are not brave enough to do this, and another runway or two would be needed to cater for growth and a 'safety bolthole'. Underground tunnels are expensive - but then so are some of the other solutions in other countries such as Kansai.

I used to live in London but now live up north and would be happy to take a regional flight to LGW and transfer to LHR if only it wasn't the pain in the bum it is now.

23rd Sep 2002, 12:09
ornithopter raises a good point about the flexibility of transfers. Stansted rail link is a joke. I live in W London, only 10 miles from Heathrow, and it takes over 2 and a half hours to get to stansted(thats before i check in!!)
It takes me 15 minutes to drive to Heathrow, but god forbid I should take public transport....it takes at least an hour on the tube, and the longest it ever took me to get home was 1hr 45 minutes from terminal 1 via the Piccadilly line/district line.
Gatwick is the big surprise. It reliably takes 50 minutes at most times of the day by car, but can take up to 2 hours by Public transport, mainly spent stuck on the way to Victoria station, from where the service is usually pretty decent(and cheap)
My vote is for Northolt to become a domestic only,with a high speed train/road tunnel link to Heathrow. The road tunnel would be used to transport secure checked in baggage to foreign flights, and the train for the pax.

23rd Sep 2002, 12:17
It almost certainly will be STN because that is politically the easy option.

However, from the ATC point of view it won't be easy, particularly on easterlies. It is 'easy' enough to get the extra airspace to the north for Westerly ops. but to the southwest there is too much in the way. City outbounds and inbounds, Luton outbounds through The Park and Heathrow/Northolt arrivals on top compressing it all to below 4000alt. That is 2 levels at best and in some areas 1. Vectoring into a cul-de-sac, with no room to orbit downwind, there would be nowhere to go in the event of trouble.

It would be like operating more traffic than Heathrow in half the airspace and bring in the same safety arguments. 4 runways at STN is going to take some major reorganisation of the TMA.

Point 4


23rd Sep 2002, 18:51
please god,

I have only one request, if a new runway is to be made at LHR, let it be runway 18 / 36 , not another 27/09 , to avoid the usuale heathrow landing with 32 KTS cross wind component:mad: :mad:

23rd Sep 2002, 19:37
Good point NA and a further indication of how we have been backed into a numbers corner.

It used to be a 15kt crosswind limit on the then 28s before Heathrow went onto 23. Then unwillingness to address the Terminal capacity issue led to the requirement to build the Whiskey stands next to T4. Enforced removal of the ILS made 23 a high workload runway for ATC. The limits were increased to 20kts to reduce the amount of usage and then finally to 25kts to all but stop it. The reason of course is that the headwind reduces the landing rates and thereby upsets the fine balance mentioned before, pushing the traffic back into the night. (One night earlier this year we were still landing 23 at 01:00). So, 20kt crosswind gusting 30, wet runway, foul night... you'll be landing 27L.

Wake vortex is another issue. On calm days it is commonplace to get complaints about w/v, very often between B737s as well as the bigger stuff. It would be prudent to add a mile to the gaps to ensure we don't get a major incident. (Remember the AAL A300 in New York). Why don't we?...

In the ATC Forum there is a post from Scott with a map of Dallas. Five North/South parallels and a pair of cross parallels. That is serious runway redundancy at an airport that is comparable to Heathrow.

My point is not that we have to demolish Hounslow and build Heathrow into a 7 runway moster but that we have to make proper provision for what ever level of traffic that Heathrow is asked to handle. At this time that means a third runway.

Point 4

23rd Sep 2002, 23:07
Hi .4 can I ask the question in a more direct way ...

If Northolt were to be used as a satellite for domestic work, AND if it were re-aligned, would it help?

I am thinking of what you said regarding the crowding that will occur in the LTMA (I think it is called?) if STN expansion goes ahead. Would Northold give the same problems - or could you route folks to it OK?


24th Sep 2002, 09:05
Hi PAXboy.

Northolt arrivals through the airways system are already worked by Heathrow Approach. They are released into each of the stacks in the same way as LL traffic and then woven through the LL traffic into a downwind position before handover to WU director. Given that they use LLs airspace they have no impact on the STN, LTN, LCY operations. To many intents and purposes, WU is already a LHR satelite.

However, that all works on a rate of 6 per hour at which it is easy enough to get them released into the bottom of the stack (no "drop through" to be done). Twenty per hour would be more difficult and would require some jigging of the procedures but is unlikely to be as difficult as STN would be.

Heathrow/Northolt has the airspace, Stansted doesn't.

Point 4


Whipping Boy's SATCO
24th Sep 2002, 10:54
I find it interesting that Northolt has, yet again, raised its head. There are many advantages, most of which have already been described. Similarly, there are a number of expensive problems, not least the fact that the airfield would have to meet CAP168 criteria. However, this is probably far cheaper that knocking down the Holiday Inn! Flow rates could be a problem because, as already stated, Northolt is almost a satellite of Heathrow and all the aircraft use the same stacks and similar SIDs.

The airfield certainly has the capacity and, although only 5500 ft long, it is plenty big enough for BBJs etc to go accross the Pond.

24th Sep 2002, 17:19
How about a sweep for how long and how much the planning application take/cost?:)

24th Sep 2002, 19:39
Well, I don't think it will be as bad as might be feared. I say that for a number of reasons:

The T5 fiasco has made it clear that major projects of national importance cannot be allowed to go that way.

I was once told by a member of the DETR's planning team that ministers have realised we are seriously short of runway capacity. In recent media converage the DETR has made it clear that to do nothing is not an option and they cannot allow the issue to drift.

Finally, I think incidents such as the BAW8 09R lander vs the BMA 09R departure have focused the public's mind on the need to do something and when the public see a need for action the politicians are rarely far behind.

Having said that, they may use the threat of another runway at Heathrow to barter for mixed mode, and given that mixed mode will actually lead to an increased loading on each of the runways it will simply make matters worse for us.

Runways are a political issue and so it is certain to be the political choice... STN.

Point 4

24th Sep 2002, 19:50
Thanks Point Four.

I see that Northolt (what ARE its IATA/ICAO abbreviations??!!) is only 5,500 feet long. What is the max size of machine that can operate into that size of strip?

24th Sep 2002, 20:18
ICAO code is EGWU.

And if we go mixed mode, then I'm certainly not doing ground!


24th Sep 2002, 20:52
Don't know for sure, not being a flyboy. I would guess, as they would be domestics operating light, anything up to about a B757. (Of course the boys in blue have put the C17s in there but then that hardly counts does it? Short field performance as good as a 146 and about 8 times the weight. 15,000fpm max rate of descent!)

Point 4

24th Sep 2002, 21:09
Could I just ask what sort of time frame we are looking at for any expansion at any airport? Just from an area(Swanwick LACC, not LATCC)point of view, I'm not sure we could cope with any increase in traffic due to no's, for quite a long period of time.

Just a thought from a different angle...


24th Sep 2002, 21:27
The next runway will be at Stansted, Northolt is too impractical for any environmental consideration, noise, ground pollution, and poorly placed to take the additional pax traffic by road into that area of west London. In my opinion the descision has already been made, being at STN regularly over the past few weeks the amount of ground infrastructure under construction at the moment, in advance of last weeks announcement of further development just adds to the development case. Under the Rucatse study STN was again the key player in the SE's development.

In terms of time a public enquiry and hearings etc will take about 2 yrs so next new runway arriving about 2005/6 is my guess. STN's airspace could relatively easily be enlarged to the north of the airfield nicking some off London Mil et al!

24th Sep 2002, 22:06
Hi Gonzo,

I was part of the Mixed Mode Working Group and we looked at the GMC operation in detail. It can be made to work as long as certain standard routeings are adhered to - these are not necessarily logical according to the routeings we use today. We considered choice of landing and departure runway by both Terminal geographical situation, e.g., T1 and T3 Northerly runway, T2 and T4 Southerly runway, and routeing criteria, i.e. Northbounds from the Northerly runway and Southbounds from the Southerly runway. We considered break out procedures for final approach, and SIDs with stepped climbs which could be flown independently from each runway with limited conflictions. Mixed mode can be made to work and there is a (slight) capacity benefit. Also don't forget with T5 there will be three GMC Controllers, so the workload even with mixed mode should be manageable. But I'll leave all that to you youngsters!

24th Sep 2002, 23:31
I don't think that anyone is in ANY doubt that the announced STN strip is the next for service. But, eventually, a politician will have to be prepared to make themself unpopular and talk about LHR and the satellite operation of EGWU is one possibility that sits to be taken.

Although traffic is already heavy in the area, do consider that on it's doorstep it has the A40 in dual carriageway and a Tube station.

When a new underground access is provided for the LHR Express, thy can dig a tunnel across to the tube with two travelators in it, as is done for LHR Central to T1/2/3.

Some expansion is required, some housing may have to go BUT the amount that has to go will be considerably less than any expansion of LHR main.

By the way - C17 dropping at 15,000 feet per MIN? That would sort out which pax had not yet secured their seat belt! :D

25th Sep 2002, 03:07
PB the problems in integrating the ATC side for Northolt are not insurmounable, as one or two correspondants have indicated. The environmental/infrastructure issues will be the hurdle which will not make this viable. Youare right the airfield is on the A40 which is dual cariageway.
Most pax nowadays and for the forseable future will travel by car, therefore you already need to be looking at a major upgrade of a system already over its capacity at peak times. With the M25 already (now),in problems the extra traffic generated with associated rat-running would quickly bring gridlock to west London. Many pax use domestics to connect with International flights at LHR, there would be no economic sense in taking those pax to an airport 7 miles away from where they need to be. Schipol and Paris would love this idea however!. The rail link is sort of there, but on the wrong lines. London Underground's system is already stretched to capacity, and the Chiltern Line from Marylebone would not cover a sufficient catchment area for this proposal. We are after all talking in the millions of pax per year.
Most pollution emmisions immediately around airports is from ground operations, and again the pax's vehicles therefore again making this unsustainable in environment terms.
Noise, first you have to determine who lives 'close' to an airport. This can be done by noise modelling. Looking at the amount of housing required to be protected under a typical contour, you better have deep pockets! Plus you need someone to stand in front of people and say, 'We're going to increase the number of aircraft over your houses by 200(guess)%', we all know thats not going to be a vote winner. Now the same bloke saying 'This governments policy is to direct all future growth in the London Area to Stansted' is going to get quite a lot of votes, from those around Heathrow in particular. STN is the least worst option, a further runway at Heathrow, be it Northolt, Heathrow itself or Wisley:rolleyes: , is in my opinion highly unlikely, but are likely to be used as a bargaining chip to ensure major further developmet at Stansted.

25th Sep 2002, 03:36
jumpseater - I don't deny the existing traffic problems in the Northold area are bad. Nor will I imagine that this govt is going to produce an integrated transport policy whereby people can transfer from one mode to another with ease ...

I think that many pax would use the an extended Heathrow Express direct to Paddington. Or use the link to Heathrow central to transfer to Piccadilly line.

By the way, "Many pax use domestics to connect with International flights at LHR, there would be no economic sense in taking those pax to an airport 7 miles away from where they need to be."

Not sure what you think I said?! What I thought I had said was that all domestic flights use Northolt. Thus if an internal flight only - they never touch LHR main. If they are starting their international journey in London, naturally, they go directly to LHR Main. Some pax might use public/private transport to be dropped off at the LHR Express terminal at Northolt to connect to LHR main. If they arrive domestically at Northolt, then they use a the Express to shuttle across to T1/2/3/4/5.

Do I think the policitians are going to go for this? No. Am I aware of the considerable cost of compensating people for the drop in value of their houes? Yes.

The question is: Are they going to take fresh green grass and make it tarmac or use tarmac that alreday exists? Answer, they will take new grass. :rolleyes:

STN will be expanded in the hope that the tidal wave can be held back until the second runway at LGW becomes available.

In the meanwhile, we all hope the hardworking folks at the radar screens are able to hold it together. It may also be that enough traffic will move over to AMS, CDG, FRA to take the pressure off. However, I doubt that it will be enough to notice.

Of course, if there is prang, they will then be able to do anything. Just look at how British Railways (or whatever they are calling it this month) gets the politicos attention when they have a smack. The history of experience in this country is that we have to wait for people to die - King's Cross, Herald of Free Enterprise, there is a horribly long list. Sorry to be so 'down' and brutal about this but that is how I see it from the sidelines.

25th Sep 2002, 13:20
Local Gazette today carries a frontpage showing a map put on display by the Department of Transport showing an alarmingly large area of housing that will have to be vacated should Heathrow push ahead with another runway

It is estimated some 35,000 people will have to move. Purely from a selfish and personal point of view, I hope it doesnt go ahead. Yes us local residents are happy to reap the rewards of living near to such a thriving source of employment, and you wont here me complaining about night flights, or another terminal if it could be contained within the current runway operations, but this is a step too far, and I would personally rather they took advantage of some of the huge masses of open land further out.

Oh and BTW, the runway is shown running in a 27/09 direction !!!! further towards the M4 creating 3 paralell runways

25th Sep 2002, 14:30
PAXboy, some good thoughts.

I personally cannot conceive that a third runway at or near LHR will ever be acceptable, not just because of the environmental impacts and demolition in the immediate vicinity but because of the impact on a much bigger area such as increased surface transport and flight paths that go over half of the capital.

My concern (and I do work in the industry so have some interest), is do we really need it. Many arguments seem to focus on "keeping up with the Jones's", that is Paris, Frankfurt etc. The argument goes that, the UK has been very successful in attracting international business because of the pre-eminence of LHR and the ability to move people, products and services around the globe quickly and effectively. However, it does not follow that having the biggest and best airport in Europe is either necessary or sufficient to maintain the country's economic status. I have more faith in the qualities and strength of the UK business environment that to be solely reliant on having the biggest airport.

We should learn to live with what we have got and plan to make the best use of it. Yes, there will need to be expansion at Stansted but there is the opportunity there to build a decent surface transport infrastructure around it - which of course we wont!

2 further points, the Heathrow Express is a very nice "grand scheme" but of no significance to the surface transport issue. Someone do the numbers and prove me wrong but I expect it accounts for only 1% or 2% of passenger/staff journeys to and from the airport. Finally, Paxboy is probably correct in that whatever happens in this review will be the minimalist solution with a view to a second LGW runway in 2019. As has been raised elsewhere, what is the point of not building a second runway at LGW if you are going to build one eventually anyway?

25th Sep 2002, 14:33

I quite understand the locals reluctance to accept another runway and it is entirely reasonable to suggest that the load be spread around but that still leaves the unanswered question of what is going to be done about the overbearing of traffic which ALREADY exists at LHR? It is a 2 runway airport handling 3 runway traffic and that cannot be left unaddressed.


True enough, there is plenty of airspce north and east of STN, so it will be fine when they are on westerlies. What about easterlies? If you are an approach ATCO, how would you feel about vectoring into a short (12nm) cul-de-sac surrounded by other traffic, with a single level and no way out when a thunderstrorm goes through? No room to orbit.

PB. Yep, you read correctly. The C17 will do 15,000fpm max rate of descent with the boards out and the engines in reverse.

Point 4


25th Sep 2002, 14:42
Yes, I know it's not going to be expansion at Northolt ... STN now and then this bunch of politicians will leave it to the next lot to try and bring forward the LGW No 2.

Four of the Points, "15,000 fpm sink".

That is not so much an aeroplane as a rollercoaster! It also introduces the phrase "Cabin secured for descent" ;)

Whipping Boy's SATCO
25th Sep 2002, 16:14
Just for the record (and in response to Paxboy's question), Northolt will quite happily take 737/757 and A320 types. can't quote useable payload/range etc but certainly within Continental Europe.

Regarding the C17, it would be fair to say that the sky does go rather dark when one of those approaches this sleepy hollow. Unfortunately, the RAF haven't done it yet, until now we have to rely on our American colleagues to provide the entertainment.

25th Sep 2002, 18:35
Hi ATCO Two,

So if we go mixed mode, does that mean no towers to ease GMC? :cool: I did it bandboxed today and had over half a sheet of towers active, Without counting the number of T4 ins who had no stand! Which of the variants was decided would bring the most capacity? T1 and T3 27R, or Northerly deps 27R?

Are we not meant to have 2 GMC controllers as it is now?;)


25th Sep 2002, 21:55
Just to add to the complicated situation.
The drive seems to be all round London and its airports.
Now while i understand the need for extra capacity the problem will not get better but worse if the powers that be insist in putting almost all their eggs in the London (area) basket.
I realise that the majority of airports in the UK are not going to be big hub airports but as an example why not develop Manchester more and help with the problems of London (now and in the future).
There are huge numbers of people who travel to LL or fly on KLM UK etc from all over the country to get long haul flights when maybe CC could help more than it already does.
A lot is said about Paris/Amsterdam/Frankfurt taking over from LL if it is not developed and it being knocked off top spot.
Well the fact is so what let CC become another big hub and overall the whole country is better off because of it.
The no frills airlines will continue to grow and service more regional airports but we should have a more open mind when it comes to the long haul stuff.

26th Sep 2002, 21:02
120.4, I know exactly what you mean about the cul de sac issue LTN has had a similar issue for years, as you are probably aware, still, if the Orange order were given a big enuff bung to go to STN in a few years time, BAL and MON go to MAN for their maintenance with a similar 'incentive' then that might free up a bit of westerly airspace!.

Sclub, one problem with LGW is you HAVE to demolish Charlwood to do it, (fancy footing that bill?), and the airport will still be poorly placed to capture the 'London' market, particularly that from the west and north. By that time, 2019, STN will I predict be on its third runway planning inquiry!.

27th Sep 2002, 15:19
You all know nothing!!!

LYDD!!! the ONLY choice for a major new runway!!


Seriously. I assume that this residents pact at LGW states that no extra runway can be built? being as the there are already 2 there? Can't they just increase the gap between the 2 and have operate them simultaniously??

28th Sep 2002, 08:05

26R is a taxiway, strengthened to take landings in exceptional circumstances and in no way can be considered a second runway.

Point 4