Terribly amusing press release of the day

Via, this

The cold snap may have only just bitten but Heathrow\’s snow team has been working for months to ensure the UK\’s hub airport will once again be prepared for the onset of winter.

With an extra half a million pounds invested in equipment this year, Heathrow’s airside department run constant checks of runway and taxiway areas, applying de-icing and of course clearing any snow and debris away.

Heathrow\’s specialist teams – which includes 50 highly trained staff and more than 60 hi-tech vehicles – have been preparing since the end of last winter to do everything they can to minimise delays in the face of wintry conditions.

The airport employs a fleet of snow ploughs and de-icing vehicles to clear and prepare runways and taxiways at the airport\’s specialist snow base which sits in between the two runways. Heathrow\’s airside operations teams have spent the summer refreshing their training with plans being discussed with airlines, baggage handlers and air traffic control to ensure a coordinated response.

7 thoughts on “Terribly amusing press release of the day”

  1. Apparently it gets you 60 “hi-tech” vehicles. At just over 8 grand a pop I’m guessing they mean 60 second hand invalid carriages.

    But what puzzles me is the numbers. There are 50 “highly trained staff” for 60 vehicles. Even if we assume they are all at work 24 hours a day that means BAA expects an availability of only 83%. Now here at Kleinkudoeskop Unobtainium we reckon 83% availability is pretty good. But then we run our kit 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. I’m guessing snowploughs aren’t expected to deliver that sort of service.

  2. They certainly produced one of those plans that looks good and is approved by senior management, but no one except the author ever reads or understands.


    Chapter 6 suggests to me that have enough kit and people available at any time to clear one runway and a taxi route to one terminal’s parking stands,. Airside service roads seem to be serviced by a gritter, and passenger walkways by 4 mini tractors.

    I travel to Scandinavian destination often and I can tell you from what I have witnessed there, Heathrow does not enough equipment, coupled with staff too incompetent manage what they do have.

  3. I’ve watched them clear up snow dumps many times at Oslo. They operate their equipment in packs of up to ten high speed machines at a time (can clear a metre depth of snow travelling at 60Km/h) , all moving in formation. Everyone involved knows what they are supposed to be doing. Heathrow’s piss-poor management can’t even organise simple procedures like this:

    One team takes a runway while another deals with the taxiways, both teams clear the crossways, then everyone moves to the next runway, repeats the process and returns to the first runway to start the cycle again. Plane de-icing is done by the handling companies in a designated area.

    “The whole process, from leaving the first runway clear to returning to start again, takes an hour,” says Gill. It takes 15 minutes for the runway to be cleared, treated with chemicals and subjected to friction tests for braking values. The procedure continues for as long as the snow falls.>>>


    Just as well Heathrow doesn’t do ATC.

  4. Er… Remittance Man:
    – £0.5m spent *this year*
    – 60 vehicles in the fleet *now*

    It doesn’t follow that those vehicles cost £0.5m between them- presumably at least some were bought in earlier years. So dividing one figure by the other doesn’t tell us anything.

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