Cutting delays: Heathrow’s record punctuality in March

London Heathrow Airport had its best ever day for punctual departures on Tuesday 22 March when 94 per cent of all departures were on time.
As well as this, 93.9 per cent of arrivals were also on time – no later than 15 minutes after the scheduled time, the measurement used across the world for all modes of transport.
March was also Heathrow’s second best ever on record for departures punctuality at 85.1 per cent, coming a close second to October 2009 at 85.7 per cent.
Due to the capacity constraints at Heathrow, the slightest thing can affect the operation – such as strong winds or fog. These things cannot be controlled by operators BAA, or the airlines flying the planes or separate ground handling companies who deal with them on the ground.
Two days in the month were significantly impacted by strong winds and a 35 minute runway closure due to a disabled aircraft. Heathrow’s operation is very sensitive to such things because it operates pretty much at capacity with no headroom.
Nick Cullen, Heathrow’s chief operating officer, said: “This shows that when we’re not suffering from things beyond our control, like bad weather or strikes, we can run a smooth operation and get people away on time.
“Although we still need to improve, these stats demonstrate that the commitment of Heathrow’s 77,000 staff is starting to pay off with some real improvements.
“Because we’ve got such a complex operation, we’re looking at how we can work more closely with ground handling companies who deal with planes on the ground and be more collaborative with the 90 airlines we’ve got here.”

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