Snow disruption costs BAA £24m

Snow disruption costs BAA £24m

Severe weather during December cost BAA £24 million the airport operator has revealed.

Thousands of passengers were stranded in terminals across the country as BAA failed to clear runways in the build up to Christmas.

London Heathrow bore the brunt of the costs, with BAA spending £19 million on the provision of additional personnel, hotel accommodation, catering and other care for stranded passengers.

BAA also spent £1 million at Stansted and £4 million across its four other UK airports - Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Southampton.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said: “The coldest December on record closed airports around the world but we must carefully examine the snow plan agreed with airlines earlier in the year and strengthen it to protect against such unprecedented weather.

“We are sorry for the flights that had to be cancelled as a result of the snow.”

Yesterday Lufthansa joined Virgin Atlantic in demanding compensation from BAA.

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Exceptional Events

Snow disruption in December was the last of what BAA described as a series of “exceptional events”.

Strikes among British Airways cabin crew and disruption from the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud also took a toll on passenger numbers.

Taken together these events are estimated to have caused the loss of 3.6 million passengers at BAA’s UK airports.

In their absence, it is estimated that instead of an actual drop of 2.8 per cent in passenger volumes there would have been a 0.6 per cent increase.

“There were many challenges in 2010, ranging from poor weather and security threats through to industrial action and the cloud of volcanic ash,” added Mr Matthews.

“But we have continued our £1 billion-a-year investment programme and are encouraged by Heathrow’s underlying positive performance during challenging economic times.

“Heathrow has improved considerably in recent years, and we are determined to put December behind us and win back confidence by improving customer service, upgrading our terminals and doing whatever it takes to improve people’s journeys.”