Multi-Mode: 120,000 possible extra flights a year at Heathrow: Independant

Posted: June 24, 2012 in Aviation & Airports (General News), Heathrow
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 [Independant] Heathrow‘s capacity problems could be solved without the need for a new runway, as strict rules on take-offs and landings are eased from next month.

The plan could allow 120,000 extra aircraft movements each year at Europe's busiest airport.

The plan could allow 120,000 extra aircraft movements each year at Europe’s busiest airport.

The “silver bullet” solution to the airport’s congestion crisis could unlock up to 25 per cent more slots with no extra building. Introducing so-called “mixed mode” flying – under which runways are used for both take-offs and landings at the same time – could allow 120,000 extra aircraft movements each year at Europe’s busiest airport.This would call into question the need for either a third runway or an entirely new airport in the Thames Estuary. New rules coming into force on 1 July will increase the number of circumstances in which simultaneous runway use is permitted. Heathrow says this will not for now lead to a net increase in slots, but it is under pressure from the airline industry to extend the scheme to allow more take-offs and landings.

The fact that the Department for Transport has agreed to tinker with long-standing rules against “mixed mode” indicates they may be willing to overrule local residents’ objections.

How a mixed mode runway operation works

Steve Ridgway, the chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, told The Independent: “Mixed mode … would allow a more efficient use of the existing, overstretched runways at Heathrow.”

When working to full capacity – which it does much of the time – Heathrow can handle up to 44 departures and 43 arrivals every hour. Yet its nearest rival is even more productive: Gatwick is the world’s busiest single-runway airport by a wide margin, with up to 54 movements an hour.

A study carried out by the air-traffic provider NATS concluded mixed mode could boost Heathrow’s capacity by up to 15 per cent – adding 10 million passengers to today’s annual total of 70 million. But a spokesperson for NATS said the operating changes needed to achieve that increase would require……

Read the full story at The Independant…..


Story by Simon Calder
23rd June, 2012


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