« | »

Were Heathrow Delays Really Bush’s Fault?

From an outraged Associated Press:

Bush’s London stopover delayed 40,000 people

LONDON (AP) — Nearly 40,000 travelers will remember U.S. President George W. Bush’s stopover in London. Their flights were canceled or delayed at Heathrow Airport to accommodate him, according to British Airways.

BAA, the airport owner, confirmed Tuesday that 32 arrivals and 36 departures, mostly British Airways flights, were canceled June 15, when Bush arrived, and the following day, when he left. BAA had no figures on delays related to the president’s visit.

The company said Heathrow typically handled 1,300 arrivals and departures per day.

"BAA, the airlines and other business partners at Heathrow did everything in their power to minimize disruption at the airport during George Bush’s presidential visit," BAA said in a statement. "Despite our best efforts some disruption did occur, for which we apologize to passengers affected."

British Airways’ chief executive, Willie Walsh, said the disruption was unnecessary.

"The decision to allow President Bush and his fleet of aircraft to fly into Heathrow rather than a military base was one all of Heathrow’s users could have done without," Walsh said in the airline’s employee news letter. "I am also angry that this was allowed."

According to this report about previous delays in the Telegraph, the British Airways terminal at Heathrow is expected to handle 40,000 passengers a day.

Are we supposed to believe that all of them were delayed?

But even if they were, was it really Bush’s Fault ™?

Just a couple of months ago Bloomberg News reported that British Airways had to cancel more than 200 flights because of a backlog in luggage at the very same airport:

British Airways’ Terminal 5 problems at Heathrow spill over to 4th day

Published: March 30, 2008

LONDON: British Airways canceled 37 flights Sunday and has yet to clear a backlog of about 15,000 pieces of luggage after disruptions at London Heathrow Airport’s new Terminal 5 spilled into a fourth day.

The carrier has so far abandoned only short-haul and domestic flights, to cities including Amsterdam and Glasgow, representing about 11 percent of all flights.

British Airways, based in London, has canceled more than 200 flights since the terminal opened March 27, after computer log-on failures for baggage handlers and delays at staff car parks sparked turmoil at the airport, Europe’s busiest. The number of flights canceled Sunday fell by 30 from 67 yesterday.

About 6 percent of the baggage British Airways has handled in the past four days still has yet to reach its owners, the spokeswoman said. The carrier, Europe’s third-biggest, is already Europe’s worst airline for lost luggage and the second-worst for delayed bags, according to the Air Transport Users Council.

Terminal 5 took two decades to plan and build at a cost of 4.3 billion pounds, or $8.6 billion, as the UK government battled campaigners who said the building would only add to congestion at Europe’s busiest airport. British Airways has said the terminal will ease journeys and help retain passengers disillusioned with Heathrow’s overcrowding.

Before the opening of the new terminal, which will have capacity for 30 million passengers annually, Heathrow was handling 68 million people a year in buildings designed for 45 million. Willie Walsh, British Airways chief executive officer, has blamed overcrowding for dissuading travelers from using Heathrow and his airline, which is the biggest occupant at the airport and the sole user of Terminal 5.

Rival carriers including BMI, the second-biggest user of Heathrow after British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic Airways, the third-biggest, have said they have seen a surge in customer bookings because of the problems at Terminal 5.

Was Mr. Bush handling the baggage? Or do they have some problem with their new terminal?

Still, why shouldn’t British Airways blame all their problems on Bush?

It always flies as an explanation. Especially with the media.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, June 24th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Were Heathrow Delays Really Bush’s Fault?”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »