Airlines Warn of Chaos at London Olympics
The heads of British Airways, bmi, Virgin Atlantic and Easyjet have warned the British government that there could be chaos at London's airports during this summer's Olympic Games, which could cause major embarrassment to the country and endless frustration for visitors, according to an article from Reuters.
In a blunt letter, the airlines said that time was running out to tackle the expected surge in air traffic and its potential impacts. They argue that failure to address their concerns could bring misery to millions of regular travelers and those coming to London for the event. According to the report, London expects an additional 700,000 international travelers during the course of the Olympics.
Heathrow Airport in London, Britain's busiest, runs at 99 percent of its capacity on an average day, and Gatwick, south of the capital, operates at full capacity at peak times, the article says. Unforeseen events such as poor weather conditions or security risks have caused huge problems and delays in the past.
Businesses and airlines are arguing that Heathrow needs a third runway to cope with rising demand, but the move has continually been blocked by the government in light of environmental concerns, Reuters reports.
A main concern for the airport is the resilience of air space with the climbing number of planes taking off and landing during the Olympics, as well as the impacts of adverse weather and security incidents, the article says.
A meeting has been set between the airlines, the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority for March 22, and the letter said it was vital that a deal was reached at that time, the article says. "Failure to respond leaves the UK vulnerable to the type of major disruptions that will cause significant reputational damage and would be foolhardy and reckless."