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T4 Shambles - 21 May 1400

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T4 Shambles - 21 May 1400

Old 21st May 2007, 20:49
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kemblejet01
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T4 Shambles - 21 May 1400

Yesterday, got in at about 1400L to find T4 end in total mayhem. The ground guy was doing his best but the 45 minute bottleneck was loosely attributed to a BA flight possibly having taxxied out "without his figures".

What does this mean?
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Old 21st May 2007, 20:54
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Cubes?

Surprised you've not come across this before? BA gets provisional load sheet from despatcher and all performance figures use this data. During taxi out, "final" load sheets figures are sent from Cenralized Load Control. Normally this only takes a couple of minutes but we cannot go without the final figures. If they're using 27L for departure, someone from T4 without final loadsheet may have caused your bottleneck.
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Old 21st May 2007, 20:54
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Andy - do BMed not stretch to / have to endure BA's provisional loadsheet system, where we rely on someone else to send an ACARS with the "real" figures sometime after we taxi... All sorts of c*ckups then available, from just "cannot go" to "must return to stand and get new loadsheet"
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Old 21st May 2007, 20:58
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Interesting - we don't go till we've got the finals. We're late of stand sometimes, but never in my experience, from not having the numbers

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Old 21st May 2007, 21:58
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As a LHR ATCO (to use Sir Alan Sugars words) it's my personal opinion that BA are 'a total shambles'.
Not the front line staff, the idiots in management that have reduced the support functions to the bone.

Never mind 27L as the departure runway, we can use any runway for departure and BA never seem to be ready on reaching a quiet holding point.
Whether this be loadsheet or cabin not ready. Why can every other airline play the game but BA can't. When you factor into the equation the lack of dispatchers to park the inbounds and the finite space at LHR it's not long before BA can bring the airport to it's knees.

I have the upmost respect and empathy for my friends and colleagues on the flightdeck who have to come up with excuses on a daily/hourly basis to explain things to the SLF. I admit this is a rant but I hear a lot worse from friends in the pointy end.

Everyone keeps saying it'll be alright with T5
BA also promised us that they'd pull out all the stops to help us with the transition to the new tower. We kept our end of the bargain and managed to reduce the flow control to standard within a couple of days. BA were back to the usual tricks of no dispatchers also within a couple of days despite promising us the highest level of support for a month

I understand my position, BA are the customer, but if they aren't going to play the game, then to protect my license, my colleagues and I will have to introduce inbound and outound flow control so every user of the airport suffers.

Rant Over. Been brewing for a while!
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Old 21st May 2007, 22:06
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Its called...... Fit for Five, but F***ed in Four.
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Old 21st May 2007, 22:18
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YS... The only crticism of LHR ATC I'd make is... why have you put up with BA's behaviour for so long
I've landed LHR the last 2 evenings (Sat/Sun) and it's been a joke... BA aircraft littered around T1 waiting for stands / holding short of them / unable to leave them due the above or no tugs. ATC Gnd good humoured commenting on them, but no more....
I did call a "Senior" BA Mgr today, and suggest cut the corporate chat over the issue, just call LHR ATC and get their opinion, or better, ask to listen to the 121.9 tapes for an hour or so for Sat or Sun evening. Good chap he is he is only a part of "Flt Ops", and presumably treated further up the chain with the same disdain as ATC and the rest of BA's Flt Ops.
Whether this be loadsheet or cabin not ready.
Loadsheet because out "Despatchers" are no longer, and all "loadsheet" stuff done in Waterworld totally disconnected from aircraft / schedules. "Cabin not Ready" because Waterworld's equivalent of Hollywood has produced a safety video full of corporate blah, kiddies and teddy bears that takes minutes longer than the previous one, and has to be shown. After the boarding announcement in 3+ different languages
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Old 21st May 2007, 22:20
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Its being discussed on our company forum, management are too spineless to take on In flight services over how long our cabin crew take to secure the cabin. Loadsheets have got much better recently. I wont go past S1S or N until cabin is secure/loadsheet arrives, that way others can go round.
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Old 21st May 2007, 22:45
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Cheers for the responses guys. I wish there was something that ATC could do to help change the situation, but it seems the powers at be enjoy having their head in the sand.

We've asked countless times for Willy to come and visit the tower and see how bad things are on the ground for real, no joy yet.

I enjoy a challenge on GMC and always try keep the humour but the frustration is that LHR could be a much better environment for all if BA management got their house in order.

Interesting to know about why loadsheets and cabin take so long, we didn't know that.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 10:13
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Is it true that at some terminals its BA who allocate the stands for inbounds?
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Old 22nd May 2007, 10:28
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As another LHR ATCO,

I have twiced emailed our man in charge to ask Willie Walsh to come, unannounced to BA, and listen in on GMC to see how bad his airline is. I offered that he could sit with me. This was some time ago and nothing seems to have been done. No doubt he (WW) is too busy to do it. I think it would really open his eyes.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 10:48
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It is true that it is BA who allocate stands for inbounds in T4 and flights in T1.

I don't think they do it all on their own though. I think that they send the plan to HAL (Heathrow Airport Limited) Terminal controllers who approve the stand, but I would think that is a mere formality and it is probably BA that have the control over who goes where.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 10:50
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As another ATCO I would like to mirror the comments by GT3 and YS. Yesterday was the first time in the new tower that inbound spacing was introduced due to the utter "chaos" on ground. This is not fair on other operators into LL who can always ensure they can fully park, are fully ready for departure etc... and if it wasn't too much hassle for TC, I would suggest that the increased spacing was only applied between BA flights.

Such increased spacing will become more common simply to protect our guys on ground. With easterly operations yesterday (09L for landing) it is a nightmare when the domestic aircraft parking 109 to 192 cannot park and hang off the gate - it leaves you with just the one taxiway to play with. If you have a westbound outbound, against a vacating inbound, then its not long before you're in the sh*t.

It is so predictable now that each BA aircraft will not be able to park. It would save on RT time if you just told us you can park!! I for one have stopped long push backs to allow inbounds onto the gate - the inbound will not park, delay the outbound and bring the cul-de-sac to a grinding halt, so whats the point!! However, if its an inbound BA delaying an outbound BA, then maybe this will teach them a lesson (probably not!)

The poor guy on GMC2 on 20th at watch changeover time was going potty! I sympathised with him. It is still far too early after the transition to NVCR and EFPS for the chap to have to put up with such a shambles. 7 inbounds all parked down the 09R extension for over an hour without a gate and then of course they all had to move due to the alternation with 27L being the landing runway. The TAM was on the ground for nearly 2 hours before it parked on its gate (the 4th gate it had been given)! The foreigners must dread flying in to EGLL.

Anyway, enough of the moaning... T5 will solve all these problems
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Old 22nd May 2007, 11:47
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You could always reduce the 'unable to park' problem by leaving the stand guidance on! [Thanks for the Leader vehicle btw yesterday to help me park].

In general, I agree, I have to suffer my own company's [BA] incompetance all the time in many aspects of daily life and am thoroughly depressed by the totally inability of managers to change anything for the better. The only saving grace is that I now fly the 747, so have many fewer transits of LHR than I used to have on the Airbus fleet. I would be tearing my hair out (if I had any left) if I were still on Shorthaul. I really don't give a fig about this company anymore.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 11:55
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Thumbs down

On our network, T4 at LHR is the most dysfunctional terminal to which we operate. It makes the LAX operation seem like child's play!!

To work with the World's best ATC and the worst handling operation is a fascinating dychotomy!

G'day
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Old 22nd May 2007, 11:57
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You could always reduce the 'unable to park' problem by leaving the stand guidance on!
Not an ATC decision unfortunately, it's up to BA and BAA managers to work it out
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Old 22nd May 2007, 11:59
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I had heard that leaving the stand Guidance on all the time has been discussed but this in itself would bring up the problem of things being left on stand and then an aircraft hitting something on the way in.
This isn't really a problem at the moment as the stand is checked before the guidance comes on.
Hopefully T5 will solve a lot of the problems but it will be running at full capacity for aircraft stands soon after BA move in to it.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 12:04
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You could always reduce the 'unable to park' problem by leaving the stand guidance on!
- covered in another thread, TB. That is outwith BAA regulations which require the stand to be checked by the relevant operator before the guidance is switched on, as 747-436 says. We went through all of this at LGW in my time due to the inability of the managers to man the dispatch department properly.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 12:44
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BOAC, I know - I suggested the same thing on the other thread.

My point is that ATC also have a vested interest in aircraft parking promptly and therefore could/should also approach BAA.

As for hitting something left on the stand, I am not advocating proceding without caution and if in doubt you, of course, should seek guidance, but for heavens sake, parking a little Airbus/737 on a stand designed for a 75/76 or larger aircraft shouldn't tax anyone too much!

And on that point, when on the A319/320 with no guidance, if the stand is designed to accommodate 75/767's, you can almost always get far enough on to allow aircraft to taxi behind.

Some people just look for problems rather than solutions!
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Old 22nd May 2007, 12:53
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The problem is even easier sorted than that. Many times we approach the stand and have many staff hanging around who could check the ramp and turn on the guidence, but the turn 'round coordinaters won't let anybody else do 'their' job so we get stuck, and with the restrictions on idle power only going onto stand we get stuck out on the taxi ways. I too hear the resignation in the voices of the ATC'ers and feel humiliated to work for such a band of incompetent tossers. But what can you do?
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