ABTA backs inquiry into BAA’s weather operations
December 23rd, 2010 by elisa

ABTA is backing an inquiry into the way Heathrow operator BAA has been unable to cope with the severe weather of recent weeks. The news comes shortly after the prime minister also voiced his disapproval at the way the airport has dealt with the freezing weather.

ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “The disruption caused by the weather appears to have been made worse by a lack of preparedness and information for customers. The test of any system is how resilient it is under stressed conditions. Heathrow seems to have failed spectacularly.

“Christmas is a peak season for travel, and scenes of thousands of stranded passengers, whose holiday plans are in disarray, have sent alarm signals to the travelling public, and seriously dented consumer confidence.

He added: “The welfare of the travelling public is ABTA’s primary concern, and the association has called for a full review of the structural and regulatory framework that supports the travelling public when en route and overseas.”

The airport is still urging passengers to check its website for a list of flights that will be flying. If a flight is listed, it is still advisable to confirm this with a telephone call. If a flight is not listed, passengers should not travel to the airport.

The airport warns: “More cold weather is forecast and there may be further delays and cancellations. We are now working with airlines to return to a normal schedule as quickly as possible and we will continue to provide updates on our website, via Twitter, our iPhone /Android mobile apps and our flight text service.

“We are truly sorry for the disruption the weather is causing to our passengers and we are doing everything we can to get them away on their journeys.”

Less than a third of flights have operated at the airport since the big freeze but the CAA will not impose a punishment as it is unable to fine an airport for not making adequate severe weather plans.

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