BAA was ‘totally unprepared’ for major incidents, says report.

Airport news for Flights,Heathrow on 12/05/2011.

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A report by the British government is highly critical of BAA over the way it handled the heavy snow that brought Heathrow to a standstill last December. The report slams Heathrow’s owners over the total lack of preparation to deal with a major incident.

The report goes on to say that BAA had failed to make sufficient investment in snow equipment. Unusually heavy snowfall, combined with severe cold, destroyed Christmas holiday plans for huge numbers of travellers in December last year, as Heathrow airport was essentially shut down for four days.

The report, published by the transport select committee, says that all airport operators need to be pressured to ensure they have adequate plans in place to deal with bad weather and prevent people being stranded. The report points out how the people stranded did not even have access to basic necessities for days at the airport.

The report calls for the British government to oversee the planning airports put in place to handle snow-related travel disruption and other incidents. Saying such oversight is particularly needed for Heathrow, the report further urges government review of airport regulations in order to ensure the regulations take account of such potential for disruption.

BAA responded to the report by saying it agreed to the last two points raised by the report but rejected the finding that Heathrow airport was unprepared. BAA said this conclusion was contrary to the findings in the Begg inquiry, which determined that BAA has historically shown that it was capable of handling previous weather events.

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