Air Canada flites to Heathrow resuming, EU threatens airport crackdown. Good!
Good news for some travellers, anyway. Air Canada Tuesday afternoon announced that they have been cleared to resume full flights in and out of London's Heathrow airport, which has been badly disrupted by snow.
"Air Canada advises that Heathrow airport has given it permission to increase flights to London beginning this evening, allowing the carrier to reinstate previously cancelled flights. Passengers are urged to consult the company website www.aircanada.com for flight schedule updates and before travelling or going to the airport.
"Air Canada has been given permission to reinstate its full schedule of nine flights a day to London Heathrow following several days of sharp restrictions imposed on carriers by the airport. We are now focused on restoring our full operation and moving the backlog of passengers created by the forced cancellations of our flights. We are going to do our absolute best to move our customers as quickly as possible but unfortunately due to capacity restrictions at Heathrow and the fact our aircraft were already heavily booked prior to the holiday season, it may still take more than a week to move all passengers. Air Canada is doing its best because it fully appreciates the importance of travel at this time of year and we thank our customers for being patient and understanding during this difficult period," said Duncan Dee, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer.
The disruptions are not Air Canada's fault. They can't control the weather and they can't control how many snowplows Heathrow has at its disposal. But maybe the European Union can.
As tired and angry passengers struggled for a fourth day of snow delays in various parts of Europe, Associated Press reported that EU Transportation Commissioner Siim Kallas said new airport regulations due to be published before the summer could include new requirements on "minimal services" airports will have to be able to provide during severe weather.
He said he will meet with airport representatives in coming days "to ask for further explanations and to take a hard look at what is necessary to make sure they would be able to operate more effectively."
"Airports must 'get serious' about planning for this kind of severe weather conditions," Kallas said. "We have seen in recent years that snow in Western Europe is not such an exceptional circumstance.
Exactly. I mean, I was in London two years ago and they had a pretty serious snowfall in January. They had more snow last year, I believe. Global weather has been freaky for years now, and if people who run major airports haven't taken that into account they should be ashamed of themselves. More importantly, they should be punished. I'm not saying throw anyone in jail, of course, but I can see why EU officials would be demanding they have better preparation for snow conditions, something they should also keep in mind out in Vancouver given recent winter snow. European tourism officials should keep the pressure up, as this sort of thing isn't helping their image - or their bottom line.