Airlines warn over Olympics delays
Britain's leading airlines have warned that passengers could face "severe delay and disruption" at London's airports during the Olympic Games.
British Airways, bmi, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic have called for the Government to take "urgent action" to cope with delays which could be caused by security measures and bad weather.
The impending travel chaos could be prevented if airlines and controllers at the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) could operate differently during the Games, they say in a letter to Transport Secretary Justine Greening and other transport bosses.
They also raise concerns about increased airspace traffic caused by non-scheduled flights and business jets. They want to prioritise scheduled flights ahead of such aircraft.
The letter stated: "As the situation currently stands the industry believes that there is a significant risk of severe delay and disruption at all of London's major airports unless urgent action is taken."
The letter goes on to say that action must be taken before a key meeting between transport bosses on March 22.
It says: "Time is running out to ensure that any changes to procedures and the appropriate training is in place prior to The Games and we urge both DfT (Department for Transport) and CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) to support and agree to the proposals that the industry, including NATS, have put forward."
It concludes: "Failure to respond leaves the UK vulnerable to the type of major disruption that will cause significant reputational damage and would be fool-hardy and reckless."
A DfT spokeswoman said: "The Government is committed to delivering safe and efficient transport services for the 2012 London Olympic Games, and aviation is clearly a major part of this. That is why we have already announced a range of special measures designed to protect scheduled air services from disruption during the Olympics period.
"We are confident that the majority of these additional issues have now been addressed and we look forward to discussing them with the airlines concerned at a meeting next week. We continue to work closely with the CAA, NATS and the industry to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum."