28 OCTOBER 2013
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Disguised under the (ludicrous) title of Operational Freedoms Trial, Heathrow has published a final report on the mixed mode runway tests which took place during the summer.
Heathrow operates at nearly full capacity and is much more congested than competing major international airports. Any disruption to schedules can lead to late-running flights, inconveniencing passengers and planes burning more fuel.
The trial was designed to understand whether a more flexible use of the airport's runways, in specific circumstances, could minimise this disruption.
The report concludes that, on balance, it delivered useful operational performance improvements in some areas. Whilst they did not provide benefits significant enough to facilitate recovery from the most severe episodes of disruption, they did help to mitigate against, and recover more quickly from, less serious disruptive events. The report suggests that specific operational freedoms be integrated into standard procedures as soon as practically possible, the use of which would be subject to strict qualifying criteria including the use of both runways for arrivals when disruptive conditions prevail.
The report recommended that aircraft could leave the designated departure route early to enable the next aircraft to depart sooner and that the southern runway be prioritised for A380s and T4 departures. The Airport Commission has been sent a copy. www.heathrow.com/noise
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