London Heathrow Airport Announces Second Phase of Efficiency Trial

London Heathrow Airport has announced the commencement of the second phase of a trial to improve and control punctuality and flight delays at the airport from July 1, 2012. The trial will be running until the end of March 2013.

BAA LTD, owner and operator of six British airports, including Heathrow Airport, in collaboration with the UK Department of Transport, a UK government department, will conduct the second phase of the Operational Freedoms trial.

The first phase of the Operational Freedoms trial ran from November 1, 2011 to February 29, 2012. In this phase, the airport experimented with ways of using runways and airspace to work through disruptions affecting the airport operations. New measures implemented during this phase involved the use of both runways for arrivals or departures, instead of only one.

The Civil Aviation Authority has recently published results from the first phase of the trial, which includes improvements in punctuality, the lowering of emissions, and a reduction in the number of planes taxiing across runways. However, people living near to the airport have complained about an increase in sound pollution, and the authority has reported that detailed analysis is required to link the first phase of the trials to the increased sound levels.

Tim Hardy, the airside director for BAA, said, ‘This trial does not mean an increase in the number of flights operating in and out of Heathrow. However, with Heathrow operating at full capacity, we need to look at ways to strengthen resilience, which will bring benefits to the local community through fewer late-running flights, to passengers by providing a more punctual service, and to the environment by reducing aircraft stacking and emissions.’