Airport operators face fines in upcoming winter season
A new draft bill will enable the Government to fine airports for poor performance in future bad weather scenarios.
Airport news for Heathrow,Travel on 24/11/2011.
The announcement this week said that by law the BAA and other airport operators must make ample preparations to avoid chaotic situations such as those seen at Heathrow airport nearly a year ago.
Severe snowfall and adverse conditions last winter revealed that Heathrow was vastly underprepared for heavy snow, which led to the stranding of hundreds of thousands of holiday travellers.
The facility subsequently drew heavy fire from ministers and the public alike when it was revealed that Colin Matthews, chief executive of the airport’s operating firm, the BAA, had been paid a bonus figure two times the amount of money spent on snow preparations at Heathrow.
Ministers say the events exposed a loophole in which responsible parties were able to avoid punishment despite the fact that holiday travel plans were ruined for thousands of passengers.
The legislation will also now require airport operators to regularly issue reports showing performance figures such as the amount of luggage lost and average security waiting times.
Air carriers said they welcomed the new legislation. A Virgin Atlantic spokesman told reporters that it had been clear that bad weather preparation had not received ample investments from airport operators despite airport tax rates being increased far faster than inflation.
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