Heaving LHR gets heavy with Qantas

London Heathrow chiefs are ready to slap Qantas with heavy fines and bin the Australian carrier’s landing slots at the heavily congested airport if its A380 aircraft continue to arrive late, according to internal memos seen by the Sydney Morning Herald.
A spate of late arrivals by the carrier’s A380s resulted in Qantas’ on-time performance slipping to 75th out of 80 airlines in February.
“As a result of our performance, London airport has given Qantas an official warning; meaning that we could be fined £20,000 for each non-compliance of our slot time, or worse lose our slot,” said a Qantas official in the memo.
Landing slots at congested Heathrow are highly valued with airlines risk losing slots for the next season’s flying schedule if they are consistently late. Qantas has eight slots at Heathrow, leasing four of them to British Airways.
“One of the biggest impacts is air traffic delays to get into Heathrow, which is a particular issue because we arrive at one of the most popular times and the airport is now at about 100 per cent capacity. Dubai is another very busy airport and that can also cause traffic hold-ups,” said a Qantas spokesperson.
Qantas is reported to have had “positive discussions” with Heathrow and was making operational changes such as flying A380s slightly faster.
Congestion at the major hub airport is becoming a significant commercial and social issue. Heathrow airport chiefs recently announced a series of measures designed to prevent congestion leading to domestic connectivity falling. Over recent years, that has seen 18 routes served in 1990 fall to just seven today. Proposed discounts the airport has tabled to solve this could be supported by increasing the total share of airport landing charges recovered through noise and emissions, adding further incentives for airlines to operate the quietest and cleanest aircraft.
Read: Heathrow demand will be ‘lost’ before new capacity is in place