Feeds

'Wrong amount of snow' caused Heathrow chaos

BAA chief apologises for miscalculation

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews has apologised for the chaos at Heathrow Airport last December, which saw thousands of passengers stranded by an unforeseen depth of snow.

The BBC, which earlier brilliantly summarised that "flights were grounded at Heathrow in December due to the wrong amount of snow", but has now decided to amend part of that to "after more snow fell than anticipated", says that the BAA big cheese has been explaining himself to the House of Commons Transport Committee.

The airport apparently braced itself for 6cm of white stuff on 18 December "but got far more than that", Matthews admitted. The result was crowds of self-loading cargo milling around Heathrow with no chance of escape, and while Matthews said BAA had done "all we possibly could" for stranded souls, the inclement weather "totally overwhelmed the ability of resources at Heathrow to cope with passengers".

He offered: "I am very sorry indeed for the thousands of disrupted passengers and for the thousands of Christmas holidays affected and for the airlines and the company."

Before the red-faced BAA supremo took the stand, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic expressed their dissatisfaction at the way the fiasco was handled. The former's operations director Andrew Lord conceded the weather was "extremely severe", but that BA expected a swift closure and reopening of Heathrow's second runway.

He tutted: "At the end of the day, if the airport operators do not provide a service to us, it is our customers that suffer and that is a situation that is not acceptable to us."

While BAA took a £20m hit at Heathrow because of the excess snow, it can at least offset Matthews' 2010 bonus against that, since he's announced he will not be trousering his traditional Xmas present.

The BBC has more, including the usual promises of radical improvements in future, etc, etc, right here. ®

Bootnote

The tone of this piece does indeed confirm that I was one of those affected by the cock-up, although I wisely decided not even to bother going to Heathrow, and hit the boozer instead.

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files
Printable genitalia fall foul of 'obscene material' laws
Brit Rockall adventurer poised to quit islet
Occupation records broken, champagne corks popped
Apple: No, China. iPhone is NOT public enemy number 1
Beijing fears it could beam secrets back to America
Canuck reader threatens suicide over exact dimensions of SPAAAACE!
How many As? Reg hack's writing cops a shoeing
Accused! Yahoo! exec! SUES! her! accuser!, says! sex! harassment! never! happened!
Allegations were for 'financial gain', countersuit claims
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.