Gatwick Airport is suggesting that Heathrow Airport utilises spare runway capacity at Gatwick and Stansted Airports to prevent a repetition of this weekend’s flight cancellations.
In a letter written to The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, Gatwick has requested that the Government brings together London’s three main airport to discuss ways in which Stansted and Gatwick can help prevent pre-emptive flight cancellations at Heathrow caused by snow.
This weekend Gatwick and Stansted coped well in the snow, while Heathrow had to cancel a large number of flights as snow and visibility reduced the number of flights it could handle.
Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Chief Executive, said: “It just cannot be right that passengers are being asked to accept apologies for pre-emptive flight cancellations. Huge numbers of business meetings and holidays will have been impacted and misery caused to travellers. The over-scheduling of flights at Heathrow during the winter period should stop, but we also need to maintain and grow our connectivity to the world.
“I am proposing that for the key winter months of December, January and February, Heathrow declares a level of capacity it can cope with in winter conditions. The additional flights then, for those three months, can move to Gatwick and Stansted. As a result there would be better use of the existing capacity at our London airports, safety would be enhanced and passengers will not have to panic every time it snows. London’s and the UK’s reputation is on the line and the airports should work together to make this happen.”
“Clearly in extreme winter weather conditions a level of disruption at airports is to be expected but we should all be able to be open for business when confronted with normal winter weather conditions as we saw this weekend.”