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UK flights soar 4.9 pct to record high in 2004

LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Flights in Britain rose 4.9 percent to record levels in 2004 as low-cost airlines expanded and more people flew on cheap fares, UK air traffic control said Friday.

The National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said it handled 2.18 million flights in UK airspace during the year as transatlantic and domestic flights increased, as well as flights to and from Europe.

Budget travel has buoyed short-haul traffic from Europe, while routes across the Atlantic Ocean have recovered from a downturn following 2001 attacks on U.S. cities.

NATS said average delays per flight attributable to air traffic control fell to 25 seconds in the period from 44 seconds in 2003 and 97.5 percent of flights had no delays.

"Despite record numbers of flights, NATS delivered its best performance in 2004 on record," NATS Chief Executive Paul Barron said in a statement.

NATS hopes to cut flight delays and safety incidents by 2007 to help restore confidence in the organisation which was hit by a financial crisis after a slump in transatlantic air travel after 2001.

The partly privatised body is implementing a 1 billion pound ($1.88 billion) investment plan to modernise Britain's air-traffic control system before European Union plans to form a single network of air-traffic control zones.

NATS earns the bulk of its revenues from transatlantic flights.

Transatlantic arrivals and departures rose 7.4 percent in 2004, domestic rose 4.4 percent and other arrival and departures rose 7.5 percent.

The strongest growth areas were in Scottish air space, where flights increased 7.9 percent, and Manchester with growth of 6.9 percent.

NATS is 49 percent owned by the British government, 42 percent by a consortium of UK airlines, 4 percent by airports operator BAA Plc and 5 percent by NATS staff.

National Air Traffic: 2.18M Flights Used UK Airspace
7 January 2005

LONDON (Dow Jones)--National Air Traffic Services (NATS), the UK air traffic management provider, said Friday that in December 2004, it handled 165,045 flights, an increase of 5.3% over the same period in 2003.

Figures show that in 2004 NATS handled more flights than ever with fewer delays.

A total of 2,180,206 flights used U.K. airspace in 2004, a new annual record and an increase of 4.9% on 2003.

Despite rising traffic levels, service delivery showed significant improvement, with the average delay, per flight, attributable to NATS in 2004, falling to 25 seconds, compared to 44 seconds in 2003, a reduction of 43%.

The number of flights that experienced delays attributable to NATS fell markedly. In 2004, 97.5% of flights experienced no air traffic control delay, up from 95.2% in 2003.

The London Area Control Centre (LACC) at Swanwick, Hampshire, which handled over 1.7 million flights through 200,000 square miles of airspace above England and Wales, recorded its best performance ever in the latter part of 2004.

For a period of 24 consecutive days, between Nov. 27 and Dec. 20, there were no delays to flights attributable to Swanwick and of the 133,000 flights handled in December, only 36 received a delay attributable to the centre.
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Recent pics of Terminal 5 U/C anyone?
Retailers are sold on sites as BAA prepares Terminal 5 for business
Sarah Butler
11 April 2005
The Times

Sarah Butler on the plans for the highly prized shopping units at Heathrow's new Pounds 39bn extension

A GEM of a fact underlines the soaring success of airport retailing: that a fifth of fragrances and 13 per cent of sunglasses bought in Britain are sold either side of the departure gates.

The revelation explains the scramble under way for the mostly highly prized shopping sites at Heathrow's Terminal 5 after BAA, the airports operator, has confirmed plans for up to 150 retail sites.

Britain's airports have already traded nicotine-stained coffee shops for the likes of Chez Gerard and Starbucks, while boutiques such as Hermes and Burberry sit side-by-side with high street staples such as Boots and Dixons.

Colin Hargrave, managing director of BAA Retail, told The Times: "People are arriving earlier at the airport since 9/11. Partly, they are planning for the new security measures, but they are also planning to spend a bit of time shopping once they have gone through security."

BAA, which operates seven UK airports including Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted, derives more than half its income from retail. It needs the cash to fund the building of new terminals and runways.

So the past few years have seen the company add 750,000 sq ft of retail space by extending existing terminals.

For example a 20,000 sq ft extension to Terminal 1 at Heathrow will open in June, with the first airport store for LK Bennett, the footwear retailer, and BAA's first experiment with signing up a gastropub -the Tin Goose, run by Geronimo Inns. Terminal 5 will add 200,000 sq ft more retail space, bringing the total to about 1.4 million sq ft.

Because space is at a premium in airports, each retailer operates within stores much smaller than their high street equivalent, but sales per sq ft can be many times higher.

One property agent said that retailers could pull in about Pounds 2,000 per sq ft compared with much less than half that for most high street retailers.

Hargrave says: "It's a real learning curve for retailers in their first year. They don't always appreciate the pace and the volume."

But, of course, this volume comes at a price. While basic rents are typically Pounds 100,000 compared with Pounds 350,000 on the high street, retailers must hand over up to 22 per cent of their turnover to airport operators, according to property sources, compared with 10 per cent on high streets.

In addition, the tight space and security conditions imposed by airports mean that operating costs are considerably higher.

There is no space for a stock room, so merchandise must be delivered to the store from an off-site location several times a day, much of it checked through customs.

Some terminals have a web of secret underground passages where staff and merchandise can be checked through completely separately. The whole operation, from security passes to 24-hour staff, is expensive. But retailers say that the payoff is more than worth it.

Several retailers have their highest-turnover stores in airport locations -for example, Fat Face's new site at Gatwick.

The airport is a unique kind of retail environment, which can give would-be international brands a chance to find out which nationalities might appreciate their wares, and the high footfall means that retailers can get an instant reaction to new ideas.

Heathrow, the world's busiest international airport, handles 65 million passengers a year.

BAA collects a huge amount of information on the type of customers passing through and and hands this on to stores so that they can tailor their ranges to suit.

Stores will often change the displays more than once a day to reflect the tastes of the different kinds of passengers arriving. And, of course, each airport terminal also has its distinctive clientele.

At Stansted, for example where 93 per cent of the business is low-cost airlines flying to Europe, BAA has worked with food outlets such as Starbucks and even Caviar House,the upmarket seafood bar, to develop "grab and go" meals that can be eaten on the aircraft, because many budget airlines offer little or no food.

Terminal 3 at Heathrow, which handles mainly long-haul flights, has designer retailers, such as Chanel, as well as high street shops and sit-down restaurants catering to foreign nationals waiting to transfer to different flights.

At Gatwick South, high street brands such as Ted Baker and French Connection cater to families going on holiday.

Terminal 5 will no doubt combine the upmarket and high street brands, but Hargrave says that he wants to try out new ideas as well.

He says that BAA plans to introduce health and beauty services, perhaps including a walk-in clinic or a hairdresser, to see how this appeals to customers.

The Pounds 39 billion, five-storey terminal, with more shopping outlets than Brent Cross, the North London shopping centre (albeit within a smaller space), is expected to open in 2008.

It will serve British Airways flights that currently operate out of Heathrow's terminals 1 and 2.
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BAA Handled 11.6M Passengers In Mar
11 April 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--BAA PLC said Monday that its U.K. airports handled 11.6 million passengers in March, up 7.7% on the same period last year.

The company said numbers were helped by an early Easter holiday. Stripped of the Easter effect, the underlying increase for March is estimated at 5.0%.

For the financial year end March 2005, BAA's U.K. airports handled 141.7 million, an increase of 6.3% against the previous financial year, said BAA in a statement.

European scheduled markets increased 9.7%, helped by a 21.0% increase in passenger numbers carried by low cost airlines.

North Atlantic markets were 3.3% higher and traffic on Other Long Haul routes added 14.1%. Despite the earlier Easter, European Charter markets declined 1.9% reflecting continued competitive pressures. U.K. Domestic routes recorded 4.0% growth.

BAA's U.K. airports each reported increases in March. Gatwick benefited most from the early Easter and recorded the highest growth during the calendar month at 15.4%.

Passenger numbers through Gatwick exceeded 32 million during the financial year, the first time numbers have exceeded 32 million since September 2001.

Heathrow was 5.2% up on the previous year while Stansted increased 9.1%.

Elsewhere Southampton recorded an increase in the calendar month of 11.7% while BAA's Scottish airports recorded combined growth of 3.8%.

The number of air transport movements increased 2.9% in March (+3.5% for the year), while cargo traffic fell 3.3%, reflecting a drop in the number of working days in March. Overall the full year cargo activity was up by 6.7%.
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British air traffic rises 7.7 percent in March

LONDON, April 11 (AFP) - British airports operator BAA on Monday announced a 7.7-percent rise in passenger numbers in March from the same period of the previous year, helped by an early start to Easter festivities.

BAA, owner of seven British airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, said it handled 11.6 million air travellers last month.

Excluding the effect of an early start to Easter, the underlying annual increase for March was estimated at 5.0 percent, BAA said.

Gatwick, south of London, benefited most from Easter beginning in March rather than April, recording a 15.4-percent hike in passenger numbers -- the highest annual growth of any airport under BAA's wing.

Passenger numbers through Gatwick exceeded 32 million during the year to the end of March -- the airport's highest level since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

For the full-year to the end of March, total passenger numbers at all BAA's airports increased by 6.3 percent to 141.7 million.

BAA said that North Atlantic traffic rose by 3.3 percent in March from the same period of the previous year.

Long-haul routes excluding traffic across the North Atlantic surged by 14.1 percent and European scheduled traffic climbed by 9.7 percent.
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National Air Traffic Flights Up, Delays Dn
12 April 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--National Air Traffic Services said Tuesday that a total of 2,200,665 flights used U.K. airspace in the year to March 2005, a new record and an increase of 4.8% on the year ago period.

In its figures for the year to March 2005, National Air Traffic Services, or NATS, also said that in March it handled 181,524 flights, an increase of 5.5% on the same month last year.

The air traffic management company said that despite rising traffic levels, service delivery showed significant improvement, with the average delay, per flight, attributable to NATS in the 12 months of the 2004/2005 financial year, falling to 20.9 seconds, compared to 40.6 seconds in 2003/2004, a reduction of 48.5%.

Furthermore, in 2004/2005, 98% of flights experienced no NATS attributable delay, an improvement from 95.6% in 2003/2004.

NATS' Chief Executive, Paul Barron, said: "With demand for air travel set to increase over the next decade we have embarked on an ambitious GBP1 billion modernisation programme to meet future demand and to continue to provide a safe and reliable service."

In March, the average NATS attributable delay, per flight, was just 6.2 seconds compared to 23.1 seconds in March 2004.

The proportion of flights receiving no NATS attributable delay also improved, to 99.3% in March 2005, compared to 97.3% in the same period last year.

All four of NATS' en-route centres, London Area Control (LACC) at Swanwick, Hampshire, London Terminal Control at West Drayton, Scottish Area and Oceanic Control at Prestwick and Manchester Area Control reported healthy traffic increases for 2004/2005 compared to the previous year.
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Jet plans 21 flights per week to UK from May

Source: IRIS NEWS DIGEST (16 April 2005)

Jet Airways (Q, N,C,F)* plans to operate 21 flights a week between India and the UK in its winter schedule this year. The increased flights come on the back of new liberal bilateral agreements between the two countries. Jet plans to fly twice daily to London Heathrow from Mumbai and once from Delhi, reports Economic Times.

According to sources, in the next three months, the airline will open one new international station every month. The Chennai-Kuala Lumpur flights start from May 5, the Mumbai-London flights will kick off in May and the Mumbai-New Jersey flights (six a week) by the end of June.

The airline will simultaneously expand its tie-ups with large international carriers to offer its customers better connectivity.
Jet Airways of India will launch daily scheduled service between Mumbai and London Heathrow from 23 May 2005.

The flights will be operated by Airbus 340-300 aircraft on lease from South African Airways and will operate on the following schedule.

9W 118 BOM d1145 LHR a1655 (Mo)
9W 118 BOM d1230 LHR a1740 (Th)
9W 118 BOM d1320 LHR a1830 (ex. Mo/Th)

9W 117 LHR d2125 BOM a1050+1 (daily)

All schedules and operations are still subject to Government approvals and will be available for sale after those formalities are completed.
Rise in air near-misses puzzles experts
Andrew Clark
20 April 2005
The Guardian

Near-misses between aircraft over Britain have risen to a 12-year high, fuelling concern about overcrowding in the skies.

The UK Airprox Board, which investigates close shaves, yesterday revealed that there were 109 reported incidents in the first half of 2004, the highest number since 1992.

Experts are puzzled by the sudden increase, 28% up on 2003 and the reversal of a steady downward trend since the introduction of automatic warning systems in cockpits.

The airprox board pointed out that more than half of the near-misses were rated as having "no collision risk". Peter Hunt, the board's chairman, said: "There was a lot of fine weather in the early part of last year. That brings more people out flying and you get more near-misses when there are more people in the sky."

Several near-misses took place around Stansted airport, which has seen rapid expansion owing to the popularity of low-cost European flights.
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BAA sees London airport traffic up 3 pct over 10 yrs

LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) - Britain's largest airport operator BAA Plc (BAA.L) said on Thursday it expected average passenger traffic at its three London airports to grow 3 percent over the next ten years.

BAA, whose seven airports include London's Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, also said in a statement it expected to spend about 6.8 billion pounds ($12.93 billion) over the next ten years.

It tipped passenger traffic to grow by 3.5 percent at the three London airports in the current financial year.
Transport: Roundup: Airports in London to get pounds 6.8bn
29 April 2005
The Guardian

BAA plans to invest pounds 6.8bn in London's three main airports over the next 10 years, it said yesterday.

Passenger numbers at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are expected to rise from 121 million a year now to 162 million a year by 2015, the airport operator said.

The company added that its 10-year forecast did not take into account any runway expansion at Heathrow or Stansted. There are plans for a second runway at Stansted in Essex in about 2011, while a third runway at Heathrow could be built in about 2015.

BAA said it expected annual passenger numbers at Heathrow to rise from 67.7 million this year to 86 million by 2015. Numbers at Gatwick were likely to increase from 32 million to 41 million, while Stansted could rise from 21.2 million to 35 million, it said.

For 2005, traffic grew at the three London airports by 6.2% and BAA invested pounds 1.28bn. The company said that Heathrow's new pounds 4.2bn terminal 5 was on schedule and due to open in 2008.

Over the next year, BAA expects to invest pounds 1.4bn in the three airports and for passenger numbers to grow by 3.5% from 120.9 million to 125.1 million.

BAA's chief executive, Mike Clasper, said: "Demand for air travel in the UK will continue to grow." - PA
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New British airport opens, with runway fit for new Airbus jumbo

LONDON, April 28 (AFP) - Britain's newest international airport, and the only one outside London big enough to handle the mammoth new Airbus A380, opened for business Thursday when a plane full of tourists took off for a Mediterranean sunspot.

Robin Hood airport, built on the site of a former Royal Air Force bomber base near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, will initially offer flights to European destinations, mainly operated by budget carrier Ryanair and charter outfit

Long-haul flights to Florida, Mexico and the Dominican Republic are planned for next year, with hopes that it will serve 2.3 million passengers over five years, taking them to 33 destinations in 20 countries.

"Robin Hood Airport has the potential to be the fastest growing regional airport in the United Kingdom," said its managing director David Ryall, as the first flight left for the Spanish holiday island of Majorca.

"We are aiming to become the 'airport of choice' east of the Pennines (the hill range that runs up the centre of northern England) for passengers and airlines alike. We hope to achieve that goal within the next five years, if not sooner."

Developed at a cost of 80 million pounds (118 million euros, 152.6 million dollars), Robin Hood boasts a runway just less than two miles (2.89 kilometres) long, making it the only airport outside London capable of handling the A380, which made its maiden flight in France on Wednesday.

The site was acquired from the Ministry of Defence and commercialised by Peel Holdings, the developer behind two other English regional airports -- John Lennon airport in Liverpool and Durham Tees Valley airport in Durham.

The airport, which is also close to Sheffield, is renowned for northeast England's association with the 12th century yeoman famous for his steal-from-the-rich, give-to-the-poor exploits.
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I don't know where that journo going on about Robin Hood airport got his facts from, but his head is obviously way up his own arse when it comes to the A380 and runway length.

Several airports in the UK already have runways longer than 3km, Manchester for example having two, both around 3048m long (longer than 2.8km) and 60m wide. They take 747s all the time and will take the A380 as well.

And it's not just about runway length either, terminals and taxiways etc all have to be changed, which is being planned for at Manchester as it is at Heathrow.

Manchester Airport (MAN) is pleased to announce the appointment of its new Airfield General Manager: Simon Butterworth.


Simon Butterworth said: “I’m really excited about joining Manchester Airport and returning to large-scale airfield operations. There are interesting developments on the horizon, including the modification programme for the anticipated arrival of the Airbus A380, and I’m really looking forward to helping deliver further improvements for the business.”
UK bans Phuket Air after revolt by passengers
Andrew Clark
6 May 2005
The Guardian

A cut-price Thai holiday airline has been banned from flying to Britain after a safety scare last month in which passengers staged a rebellion when they saw fuel leaking from a wing.

Phuket Air, which was used by several leading tour operators including Kuoni and Thomson Holidays, has had its operating licences suspended in Britain and its other European destination, the Netherlands.

The Department for Transport said the sanction, which is unusual for a mainstream carrier, was a result of "the number and severity of safety breaches revealed in Civil Aviation Authority inspections". One of the airline's jumbo jets is still at Gatwick airport. The aircraft has been impounded by the airport's operator, BAA, in lieu of unpaid landing duties, which industry sources put at more than pounds 100,000.

Founded four years ago, Phuket Air uses a fleet of Boeing 747s aged between 15 and 26 years, which it bought from the Dutch national carrier, KLM. The venture was intended to attract price-conscious travellers in a long-haul version of Europe's successful low-cost airlines, with fares to Thailand from around pounds 300 return.

Problems began to emerge last month when passengers prevented a plane from taking off after a refuelling stop at Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, en route from Bangkok to London.

British holidaymakers said fuel was gushing out of a wing, although the airline claimed they were "typical drunken Brits" and said the fuel tanks had simply been overfilled.

A replacement aircraft sent to pick up the tourists was delayed owing to further technical problems. Two days later, the same plane was forced to abandon a flight from Gatwick and circle above the airport, dumping 50 tonnes of fuel, owing to a hydraulics problem.

A Civil Aviation Authority spot check found that the collision avoidance system on one aircraft was not working.

Other faults included a damaged gearbox and faulty emergency lights. The authorities in the Netherlands lost patience when one of the airline's pilots was found to have an out-of-date medical certificate.

Bans on individual airlines are rare, although Britain does have a blanket prohibition on airlines from a few countries judged to have inadequate regulation, including Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Tajikistan and Congo. The Department for Transport said Thailand's main carrier, Thai Interna tional, was unaffected, and Britain still had confidence in Thailand's safety authorities.

A regulatory source said: "The tsunami may have accelerated some financial problems, and if they've got problems of that sort, they may have taken short cuts in other ways." Phuket Air did not return calls yesterday.

David Learmount, the safety editor of Flight International, said the age of the airline's fleet meant it would need a lot of day-to-day expenditure on maintenance.

"There's nothing wrong with using old aeroplanes as long as you look after them," he said. "It's like having an absolutely immaculate 1927 Bentley: you can keep it on the road as long as you spend a lot of time and money on it."

BAA confirmed that it was refusing to allow a Phuket Air plane to leave Gatwick until the carrier had paid its bills, although it refused to say how much money was at issue. It said: "We are trying to resolve the issue as amicably as possible."
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^ Wow! The London to Bombay route is becoming very busy indeed! British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Air India already offer daily direct flights on this route. Jet Airways will be the fourth daily direct service. I'm surprised there are so few direct flights between London and Calcutta though.
Monkey said:
^ Wow! The London to Bombay route is becoming very busy indeed! British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Air India already offer daily direct flights on this route. Jet Airways will be the fourth daily direct service. I'm surprised there are so few direct flights between London and Calcutta though.
yeap,its a cool thing Monkey :eek:kay: :)

after the UK-India open-air policy things have been going up for aviation:)
^ BMI will also be offering London Mumbai flights from May 14th so that makes five airlines now!!
Passengers flying through London's Heathrow airport face delays, cancellations
11 May 2005

LONDON (AP) - Passengers arriving and departing from London's Heathrow airport faced delays and cancellations Wednesday when both the airport's runways were blocked.

Heathrow's southern runway was blocked when the brakes on a KLM Boeing 767 aircraft jammed at 1:15 p.m. (1215GMT).

Departures were switched to the northern runway, but it was also blocked when a Cathay Pacific aircraft departing for Hong Kong suffered overheating breaks at 2:30 p.m. (1330GMT).

Airport authority BAA said the northern runway reopened within nine minutes. The southern runway was closed for three hours.

"There are delays occurring to both departures and arrivals as Heathrow returns to normal," BAA said in a statement.
Passengers 'pay Pounds 650m too much for flights'
Angela Jameson
13 May 2005
The Times

PASSENGERS are paying Pounds 650 million a year more than necessary for long haul air tickets, according to bmi, the British airline that is campaigning to loosen restrictions on long-distance routes from Heathrow.

Bmi has identified 14 long-haul routes from Heathrow that are restricted from full competition, including Sydney, Washington, New York, Cape Town and Lagos. The airline believes that passengers would save Pounds 658 million a year if restrictions were lifted on the routes, based on a 10 per cent fall in fares.

Sir Michael Bishop, chairman of the airline, said that millions of passengers were being "denied real competitive choice because of regulatory restrictions".

He urged the UK and US governments to examine a recent deregulation agreement between the UK and India.

Limited deregulation on routes from Heathrow to India, introduced last September, has seen economy ticket prices fall by 25 per cent and business fares drop by 15 per cent.

Eight of the restricted routes are to American destinations. Discussions between the UK and the US aimed at removing competition are due to resume next week.
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Heathrow jam causes alarm
Andrew Clark
12 May 2005
The Guardian

Accident investigators are calling for a comprehensive review of ground safety at Heathrow following a spate of collisions between planes and buildings which have raised concern about overcrowding at Britain's busiest airport.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) will today express alarm about the number of aircraft hitting piers, gates and tugs as the airport's management struggles to find space to park planes.

Last year a dispatcher had to run clear of an airbridge to escape injury when he realised a British Airways jumbo jet was about to crash into it. The plane, which had arrived from San Francisco, sustained a hole in its wing and severe damage to one of its engines which sucked in debris.

A few weeks earlier a Boeing 737 operated by the Romanian airline Tarom suffered similar damage when it hit a jetty on arrival from Bucharest.

Four years ago the AAIB reported that there were between 70 and 120 incidents a year in which aircraft were damaged by accidents on the ground at Heathrow. Investigators will today criticise the airport's "inadequate response" to the problem.

AAIB investigators have concluded that there is "little overall strategy" for guiding air craft on to stands, with confusion about who is responsible for using emergency stop signals. They will call on the Civil Aviation Authority to conduct an audited review of the airport's operations.

"London Heathrow airport operates within a site of restricted size. It is apparent that the airport is working to capacity and that the operation is constantly being driven to increase this capacity still further," says the report, which points out that some stands designed for one aircraft are being used to accommodate two smaller planes.

Heathrow is the world's busiest international hub, handling 63 million passengers annually on 90 airlines. Aircraft take off or land on the airport's two runways every 90 seconds. A pounds 4.2bn fifth terminal is due to open in 2008.

The transport secretary, Alistair Darling, has indicated that he favours construction of a third runway, as long as air pollution is reduced locally.

BAA, which operates Heathrow, said it was installing extra "emergency stop" buttons, allowing ground staff to warn pilots when they were about to hit piers. The company said it had reviewed procedures in response to recent incidents and was considering the recommendations of the investigators.
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