BAA begins Heathrow enquiry

BAA begins Heathrow enquiry

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews has confirm an external panel will be charged with establishing what can be learnt from the recent snow calamity at Heathrow Airport.

Passengers were stranded at the airport – which brands itself as the busiest in the world – earlier this week following unexpected snowfall on Saturday.

Heathrow did not return to full operational capacity until Thursday, with airlines left to question just what went wrong.

He explained: “The enquiry will forensically examine what went wrong at Heathrow, and look fundamentally at our ability to prepare and respond more effectively to periods of bad weather at an airport operating at its maximum capacity.

“The enquiry will have complete freedom to examine the sequence of events, and to deliver recommendations for BAA to implement.”

Matthews has now asked independent non-executive director Professor David Begg, to lead an external enquiry to find out.

The panel members are drawn from airports and airlines around the world and will have a far-reaching brief to look at the planning, execution and recovery from the difficult weather conditions of last weekend and will publish their report in March 2011.

The enquiry will also be supported by Dr David Quarmby, who has recently completed the Government-commissioned review on UK winter resilience

BAA refused offers of help from airlines and the British government to help clear the snow, prompting prime minister Davis Cameron to brand the situation “frustrating”.

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Investment

In the meantime, Matthews has made an additional £10 million available to the airside operations team at Heathrow, in order to bolster winter resilience and the first of the new vehicles are arriving today.

Sir Nigel Rudd, chairman of BAA, said: “This enquiry is a powerful statement of BAA’s intention to respond quickly to recent events, and I am pleased that Colin and his team have taken swift action to begin an exhaustive enquiry. 

“The Board will ensure that the full resources of the company are available to the enquiry in the coming months.”