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The UK’s most punctual airport
Apr 16th, 2014 by elisa

The UK’s most punctual airport is London City, according to the latest figures from the Civil Aviation Authority.

Across the 10 airports monitored last year, 80% of flights were on time. At London City, however, 89% were on time. Heathrow is at the bottom of the list with 24% of flights delayed.

The average delay of all scheduled flights monitored in the last quarter was the same as last year, at 12 minutes.

Iain Osborne, group director for regulatory policy at the CAA, said: “Whilst it is pleasing to see the majority of passengers arrived at their destination in good time at the end of last year, our figures show that too many people still had their flights disrupted by delays.

“We also know there were a number of cancellations during December that will have disrupted other passengers.

“Some severe weather clearly played a part in this, but there is still room for improvement. Airports, airlines and air traffic control service providers all have a role to play in delivering that improvement and it is vital they work together to make sure fewer passengers have their journeys disrupted by delays and cancellations”.

Aircraft to land closer together at Heathrow
Feb 7th, 2014 by elisa

Heathrow has been given the go-ahead to let aircraft land closer together in windy conditions.

The airport will be the first in the world to implement the new system, which is hoped to halve delays for arriving passengers. It said it will cut disruption for passengers by more than 1,300 hours each year.

From spring 2015 air traffic controllers will start to manage arriving flights using the amount of time between aircraft, rather than distance. The move follows the recommendation from the Airports Commission, which has been investigating ways in which to create extra capacity out of existing airports in the notoriously busy airports in southeast England.

Heathrow has been operating at 98% of its runway capacity for a decade. In normal conditions a flight takes off or lands every 45 seconds. During strong headwind conditions, however, aircraft fly more slowly, resulting in extra time between each arrival. Maintaining a set distance between aircraft in such conditions, means landing rates are reduced and flights are delayed, sometimes causing cancellations as the airport has no spare slots to accommodate for the delays.

Traditionally, flights are separated by set distances determined by each aircraft’s size of spiralling turbulence – or wake vortex – created as they fly. NATS studied over 100,000 flights using special equipment to accurately measure the behaviour of these wake vortices in strong headwinds. The results show that they dissipate more quickly when it’s windy, therefore allowing aircraft to land closer together in these conditions, while maintaining safety.

Director of airside operations Derek Provan said: “We’re pleased that NATS have accelerated the roll-out of this new system at Heathrow.

“It will help us keep the flights landing safely and on time during strong headwinds – ultimately benefitting passengers and local communities.”

Flybe criticises lack of passenger compensation
Dec 10th, 2013 by elisa

As a decision is being made over airline compensation for the grounded flights over the weekend, Flybe has hit out at the lack of compensation for passengers.

A technical glitch in the NATS air traffic control phone systems at the weekend caused flights to be severely delayed or cancelled in both the UK and abroad. Under current rules, passengers are not entitled to compensation as the glitch was out of the airlines’ control. However, Flybe has criticised air traffic control for washing its hands of any compensation to passengers hit by the “fiasco”. It said that it’s unacceptable that airlines have to “pick up the tab”.

Chief commercial officer Paul Simmons said: “It’s clearly not a fair system when NATS can wash their hands of any financial compensation to the millions of passengers who were let down. But the airlines once again have to act as ‘the Insurers of last resort’ and pick up the tab. That’s really not acceptable.”

170 Flybe flights were scheduled for Saturday 7th December, but only 27% of the services left within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure time, and four were cancelled.

NATS is currently carrying out an investigation into what went wrong with the system. Its regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, is waiting for the results before deciding on compensation for airlines.

140mph winds cause major flight delays
Dec 6th, 2013 by elisa

Some of the worst weather of the year so far is hitting the UK and parts of Europe, causing wide-spread travel disruption. 

Yesterday airports in Scotland were severely hit by delays and cancellations, and many roads were closed as it’s been claimed the country was practically ‘closed down’ due to winds up to 140mph. Although the winds are dying down in Scotland and the northern half of the country today, there are still expected to be some delays and cancellations to flights. Manchester airport is advising passengers to check the status of their flight before leaving for the airport.

British Airways and Lufthansa are warning of flight disruption, while a “significant number” of KLM and KLM Cityhopper flights have been cancelled across Europe.

EasyJet said strong winds will continue to affect northern and north eastern Europe today.

“The weather situation in Copenhagen and Hamburg is still difficult following yesterday’s disruption and flights may still experience weather associated delays,” it said.

Here is a video of a huge A380 aircraft coming in to land at Manchester Airport yesterday, clearly rocking in the difficult conditions. Watch from around 20 seconds in..

Today flood alerts are in place across England and Wales as the weather heads further south. Thousands are being evacuated from their homes in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and around 120,000 have been left without power.

 

Worst airports for delays
Jun 4th, 2013 by elisa

An organisation set up to help passengers claim compensation for flight disruptions has revealed the airports which suffer the worst delays.

Refund.me allows passengers to upload their claim information to the website where it will be assessed and generate a claim letter with all the relevant details on the passenger’s behalf. It works on a no win, no fee basis and will take 25% of the compensation plus VAT if successful.

“Many passengers are not aware of their rights, and those who are and try to file a claim face a complicated bureaucratic system impeding their claims”, said CEO Eve Büchner.

Refund.me said that users of the online widget and mobile app made more claims for delayed flight arrivals at Frankfurt Airport, followed by Manchester, Stansted and Gatwick.

Frankfurt also came first for flight cancellations, with Franz Joseph Strauss in Munich and Charles de Gaulle in Paris in second and third place. Gatwick slipped into fourth place, Heathrow came eighth and Manchester 10th.

UK airports with flights most likely to arrive on time were London City, Stansted, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Flight delays increase at UK airports
Sep 25th, 2012 by elisa

Flight delay picture by Flickr User dichohecho

Flight delay picture by Flickr User dichohecho

 

According to figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority, passengers are having more flight delays from UK airports, with Heathrow as one of the worst.

27% of scheduled flights from Heathrow, the UK’s largest airport, were delayed. This is a fall of six percentage points from April to June.

Those travelling to Toronto had it worst, with almost half of the flights delayed, with the highest average wait at 28 minutes.

The average delay increased by one minute to 12 minutes across all 10 airports monitored, with 22% of all scheduled flights delayed. London airports fell by four percentage points to 77%, and the average delay increased by two minutes to 13 minutes. Only Luton airport improved its on-time performance by one percentage point.

On-time performance at Manchester and Birmingham fell by three percentage points, then by two percentages points at Glasgow, and one at Edinburgh. Newcastle, however, increased by one percentage point.

Iain Osborne, CAA group director for regulatory policy, said: “Passengers are entitled to expect a good value flight that gets them to their destination on time.

“These figures show that the majority of passengers using UK airports are receiving that level of service. However, the drop in performance for scheduled flights is a warning sign – more can be done, and we urge airports, airlines and air traffic control to work together to reverse this trend, reduce delays and ensure even more passengers reach their destination on time.”

 

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