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Philip Hammond seeks new powers to fine Heathrow and other failing transport hubs

Tim Montgomerie

HAMMOND-PHILIP-BIG-BEN According to this morning's Sunday Times (£) the Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, is considering new "airport regulation" legislation which will mean BAA and other transport hubs can be heavily fined if they fail to prepare for adverse weather. Heathrow Airport, owned by the Spanish company Ferrovial, spent just "£500,000 on anti-snow machinery this year and did not have adequate de-icer stocks". Hammond told The Sunday Times that "BAA estimated it would need 35,000 litres of de-icer a day in the most atrocious winter conditions but it held only 10 days’ worth of stock. Early last week it was using 100,000 litres a day and supplies quickly ran low."

The contrast with Gatwick Airport, which was recently separated from Heathrow and had invested in new ploughs and equipment, was stark.

The Civil Aviation Authority does not currently have the powers to fine airports for underperformance during bad weather although airlines, including BA, are considering private claims against BAA/ Heathrow.


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