New technology to reduce Heathrow fog delays - Heathrow Airport News

Airport news for Heathrow on 26/03/2009.

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British Airways has installed the Microwave Landing System on 29 of its planes, at a cost of £5 million.

Officials have claimed that the installation will mean an increase of 20 per cent in the number of landings that can be made when visibility is poor, meaning a decrease in the number of delayed flights.

The launch of this microwave technology at Heathrow is the first in the world.

Currently, the runways at the busy London airport are operating at close to full capacity, which means that delays caused by heavy fog can cause significant disruptions. On average, the airport is affected by such conditions 10 times each year.

The existing technology in place is known as an Instrument Landing System. It utilizes a beam to guide incoming aircraft onto the runway. Pilots monitor the descent visually in order to avoid any mishap.

In conditions of poor visibility, pilots are not able to monitor the descent, and also the beam is subject to the interference of other aircraft in the area.

As a result, the number of landings has to be reduced by air traffic controllers from 44 to 24 per hour.

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