Heavy Spring Weather Causes Drop in Heathrow Performance

It was a particularly rough spring for Heathrow Airport according to recent figures from the Civil Aviation Authority. Storms and heavy rainfall caused a great many flight delays this past April – June, the rainiest spring on record. While all airports are affected by inclement weather, Heathrow is particularly susceptible to weather-related disruptions because “it operates at 99.2% capacity” according to a BAA spokesperson.

The fact that Heathrow is essentially full has prompted many to plead with the Government to expand Heathrow Airport by adding a third runway. Thus far, this is something the Government has been reluctant to do, but they set up an independent commission earlier this month to deliberate on the question of Heathrow’s capacity as an international travel hub. Sir Howard Davies is serving as chairman of the commission.

Already London’s busiest airport, conditions at Heathrow worsened considerably over the spring, with over 25 per cent of flights experiencing delays. This is a considerable drop in performance over last spring, according to the aforementioned Civil Aviation Authority statistics. Flights that are more than 15 minutes late arriving or departing are considered delayed. Following these specifications, only 73 per cent of Heathrow’s flights arrived or departed on time, making it the lowest performing airport in Britain. During the same period, this past April – June, the 10 leading British airports achieved an average of 78 per cent for flights leaving or arriving on time.

To make matters worse, Heathrow’s immigration service also experienced severe difficulties this past spring. Some passengers had to wait upwards of two hours to enter Britain. According to the same set of CAA figures, Heathrow’s performance rating dropped six points over the same period last year. Among the 10 airports reported, Heathrow experienced the biggest drop in performance. All of this data will certainly be seen as proof of the need to expand Heathrow’s capacity.

Enlarging the airport is absolutely necessary if Heathrow is to remain a global travel hub, argue supporters of expansion. CAA Group Director for Regulatory Policy, Iain Osborne, stated that “Passengers are entitled to expect a good value flight that gets them to their destination on time…” According to Osborne, that expectation is fulfilled for most passengers in British airports, but the drop in performance over last year should be taken as a warning. More can and should be done to “…ensure even more passengers reach their destination on time.”

While arriving Heathrow passengers experience the most delays of any European airport, Heathrow Airport Taxis remain the most reliable means of traveling to and from the airport. Public transportation is crowded and runs on strict schedules, which can be stressful if your flight is delayed or you have to wait in immigration lines. Pre-scheduling a Heathrow Taxi ensures transportation is available as soon as you arrive. Heathrow Airport Taxi services include flight monitoring, so your driver will know the moment your flight lands. Only the Government can expand Heathrow Airport, but Heathrow Taxis can make the rest of your journey stress-free.