Tag Archives: frozen runways

Runway heating could pay for itself in two years, says report

22 Dec

I am not privy to airport costings but the seemingly needless grounding of British-based planes during the ongoing cold spell is a soar point with me (pun intended).

Because it could all have been avoided if Heathrow,  Gatwick and other UK airports had  heating under their runways.

But that would not be ec0nomically viable,  did I hear someone say? The cost would be astronomical and would have to be passed on to those who utilise the airports.

Presumably that means  the thousands of us who stand around interminally analysing the ‘Cancelled’ and ‘Delayed’ messages on flight departure boards.

Presumably, then, the £12 car-park fee my daughter paid to pick me up at Manchester Airport last week is NOT astronomical. And  it’s reasonable to charge nearly a fiver for a sandwich?

Captive audiences will always be ripped off. The only way the public can counter the profiteers is not to buy extortionately priced goods. But when you are starving and stranded miles from nowhere, what alternative is there?

When you think about it, it is actually in the interest of the  airports to ground passengers because they have to eat. And that means buying those gold-plated sarnies and £4 bottles of water.

It might be a good idea to start charging for using the airport loos as well, as mooted by Ryanair’s penny-pinching boss. That’s gotta be worth a bog-standard million quid a week, surely.

I’m not surprised there’s no rush to invest in underground heating – and the predicted vast expense provides a good excuse. Of cours, Britain’s increasingly deluded bureaucrats also assure us  we don’t have enough sub-zero weather to justify runway heating. Which is nonsense if the past couple of climate-changing years are anything to go by.

So how expensive would it be to heat the runways? Well, an executive study at  St Cloud State University in Minnesota concluded that using geothermal heat can prevent the build-up of ice and snow ”and once installed, such a system could pay for it self in as little as 2-5 years.”

The report also slammed current methods of trying to keeping runways open, maintaining: ”Both chemicals and snow-ploughing vehicles have adverse effects on the environment as they contribute to pollution.”

I am no engineering expert, so have no idea whether such a system is feasible for UK airports. But something MUST be done about the seemingly endless delays passengers are suffering these days.

Keeping airports open at all times has to be a priority. BAA, who own Heathrow and Stansted among others, are predicting a 15 per cent rise in income next year to £1.12 BILLION. So they are not exactly skint. 

But do they really care that it’s becoming a bonus for passengers to get to their destination on the scheduled day, let alone on time?

The heat is on – or rather off if you’re in the UK. Whether those who make the decisions have the hot-water bottle to do anything about it is another matter.