News

New ATC Initiative to Halve Delays for Arriving Flights at Heathrow

New ATC Initiative to Halve Delays for Arriving Flights at Heathrow

Following the recommendation made by the independent Airports Commission in the UK, London Heathrow will be the first airport in the world to introduce a new system of managing arriving flights using the amount of time between flights, rather than distance. London Heathrow Landings

Introduced by air traffic control operators NATS, the new system will help reduce delays and cancellations caused as a result of strong head winds by landing arriving flights closer together. The new procedures are expected to halve delays for arriving flights at Heathrow affected by high winds, cutting disruption for passengers by more than 1,300 hours each year. The new procedures will be introduced from spring 2015.

Heathrow is the world’s busiest two-runway airport and 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, aircraft fly more slowly over the ground resulting in extra time between each arrival. Having to maintain a set separation distance in those conditions reduces the landing rate and causes delays. Because Heathrow’s runways are full there are no spare slots into which to schedule delayed flights. This inevitably means that flights operate into the night or are cancelled.

Traditionally, flights have been separated by set distances dependent on the type of aircraft and the size of the spiralling turbulence – or wake vortex – they create as they fly. NATS has studied over 100,000 flights using state-of-the-art equipment to accurately measure the behaviour of aircraft wake vortices in strong headwinds. The results show that they dissipate more quickly in windy conditions, therefore allowing aircraft to be closer together on final approach while maintaining safety as the main priority.

Derek Provan, Heathrow Director of Airside Operations, said: “We are 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.”

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

NEIL STEEDMAN has been a trade journalist, copywriter, editor and proofreader for 50 years, and News & Features Editor for ‘Irish Travel Trade News’ for the past 40 years.

More in News

Qatar Visa Waivers

Qatar Waives Entry Visa Requirements for 
Citizens of 80 Countries

Neil SteedmanAugust 18, 2017
HAL+RM Featured Image

Welcome Aboard Holland America Line and Rocky Mountaineer

Neil SteedmanAugust 17, 2017
Airberlin

Airberlin Files for Administration After Etihad Declines Further Funding

Neil SteedmanAugust 16, 2017
WTM London 2017 Digital Influencers’ Speed Networking

Registration Open for WTM London 2017 Digital Influencers’ Speed Networking

Neil SteedmanAugust 16, 2017
Vibrant Irish Light, between Dublin Airport Terminals 1 and 2, is complemented with the poem, Swanlight, by the late Irish poet and philosopher, John O’Donohue

CAR Revokes Travel Agent Licence of Bookandgo.ie

Michael FloodAugust 15, 2017
Job Opportunities

Job Opportunities with Turkish Airlines and G Adventures

Neil SteedmanAugust 15, 2017
Air France-KLM + Delta Promotion

Book and Win with Air France, KLM and Delta August Promotion

Neil SteedmanAugust 15, 2017
IMG_4217

Insight Vacations Launches 2018 North America Brochure

Ian BloomfieldAugust 15, 2017
New AerLingus A330 St Carthage5

Aer Lingus Launches Winter Schedule with 300,000 Additional Seats

Michael FloodAugust 15, 2017

Copyright © 2016 Belgrave Group Limited, C4 Nutgrove Office Park, Nutgrove Avenue, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, Ireland