Heathrow dual runway landings trial fails to show benefits

A trial at Heathrow caused extra inconvenience for hundreds of thousands and brought no benefit.
Heathrow fails in noise trial
Heathrow fails in noise trial

A controversial trial at Heathrow designed to reduce delays has caused extra inconvenience and noise for hundreds of thousands and brought no benefit, according to a recent aviation report.

The Operational Freedoms trial, which allowed the airport to land planes on both runways if delays were building up during winter 2011 and summer 2012, did not make a difference to the running of the airport according to a report released last week.

The report from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) read: “It is extremely difficult to reach any strong conclusions on the benefit or otherwise of the trial.”

John Stewart, chairman of campaign group Hacan, said: “It appears that these trials brought little benefit to the airport. “But they did deprive residents of their much-valued half day’s break from the noise. “To bring them back would be a lot of pain for very little gain.”

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s director of sustainability, said the trial showed how the airport could become more punctual.

He said: “This would bring benefits for passengers and local residents alike by reducing late-running flights, and also benefits for the environment by reducing aircraft stacking and emissions.

“However, we recognise that there is a need to minimise other impacts on local communities and we will continue to work with HACAN and residents to achieve this.”

Earlier this month, chairman of the Airports Commission Sir Howard Davies noted the need for additional runway capacity in the south-east of England.

The commission will produce an interim report by the end of this year and a full report with recommendations for the government by 2015.