Government looks set to back Heathrow mixed mode

20.5.2008   (UK Airport News)

Ministers are set to back increasing the use of Heathrow‘s runways to deal with delays, the Evening Standard reports.    Currently, the airport’s two runways are used alternately for take-offs and landings,
changing at 15:00 each day, to allow residents in different areas a break from
aircraft noise.

But the Government is supporting mixed-mode operations – take-offs and landings
on both runways – to deal with peak demand and delays at the airport operated
by BAA, the newspaper claims.

Ministers had signalled their support for mixed-mode use of runways at Heathrow
to expand capacity.   But they have now strongly made the case for it to increase
‘operational resilience’ – avoiding chaos hitting thousands of passengers with
delays and cancellations, according to the Standard.     It says that, in reply
to a report by the Commons all-party transport committee into BAA, they said mixed
mode ‘could provide greater flexibility for the airport to cater for peak demand
and to recover from delays caused by, for example, adverse weather conditions.’

Campaigners who believe ministers have already decided to allow a third runway
at Heathrow are likely to have their suspicions fuelled by their response.

MPs also reacted angrily, with Putney Conservative Justine Greening told the
newspaper: ‘This is a disgraceful disregard for residents. They will pay the price
for BAA’s incompetence and the Government’s unwillingness to confront it.’

20.05.08 Government looks set to back Heathrow mixed mode