Heathrow

From 30 March 2014, British Airways flights to Tel Aviv will operate from London Heathrow Terminal 5.

From 26 October 2014, British Airways flights to Belfast City and Dublin will operate from London Heathrow Terminal 5.

From 26 October 2014, British Airways flights to Barcelona will operate from London Heathrow Terminal 3.

A BA Airbus 319 aircraft was forced to turn back to Heathrow airport after an engine caught fire as it was taking off.

The flight had been bound for Lyon, France and had what is known as an engine surge landed safely back at the London Heathrow airport following the event at about 9pm last night, BA said.

BA 319

A BA 319 in flight

An eyewitness reported to the BBC he had seen flames “spitting out” of the engine and that the plane had been making spluttering noises as it was taking off. Tom Puttick said: “I was in the petrol station opposite the airport which is when I heard the bang, so I turned around and the airplane had flames spitting out of the engine with a spluttering noise as it was taking off.

“I then watched it continuer to climb and the engine was still emitting flames intermittently. Lots of blue lights then emerged on the airport while the plane, I guess, turned around to make an emergency landing.”

A BA spokeswoman said: “Our crew cared for our customers on-board and kept them informed. We train our pilots to the very highest standards including how to respond to these type of events, and the engine was immediately shut down.”

“Of course, we gave our customers who were on the flight hotel accommodation last night and they have been rebooked to fly today.

“We have also scheduled a larger aircraft to operate to Lyon to ensure we can get all our customers there as soon as possible. We can understand how frustrating the delay to their plans must be.

“The aircraft is being thoroughly checked over by engineers. The safety of our customers, crew and aircraft is of the utmost importance to British Airways.”

This is another event involving a BA Airbus A319 as last year a flight destined for Oslo was involved in a dramatic return to Heathrow after an engine fire, due to the coverings of the two engines being left unlatched and then falling off as the aircraft took off puncturing a fuel pipe on the right engine.

Footage of that incident can be found here.

The Airports Commission this morning published an interim report into possible options to expand UK airport capacity

Three options were shorlisted, with the Boris Island being also mentioned as receiving further consideration. The final report is expected in 2015.

The three short-listed options (two of which relate to Heathrow) adding a third runway at Heathrow, lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow, and a new runway at Gatwick.

Stansted and Birmingham appear to have been ruled out at this stage, although they may be in contention in the more distant future.

Sir Howard Davies, said that the Commission’s analysis showed one net additional runway was needed by 2030.
He added that the capacity challenge is not yet critical, but it will become so if no action is taken soon.

The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin made a statement to the House of Commons expressing his approval of the Airport Commission recommendations, stating the report “offers a clear recommendation that there is a need for a new runway capacity” in the medium term “to support continued competitiveness and prosperity”.

Flight delays today to persist until at least 14:00hrs

London Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, and Dublin airports are amongst those affected, due to a technical issue at the Sandwick Air Traffic Control Centre. Passengers are experiencing flight delays and cancellations.

Heathrow Airport had cancelled 60 flights by 9:45am this morning.

Some long haul flights inbound will be diverted to continental airports.

When the issues are fixed there will be a further period of disruption while services are re-arranged.

For live information BBC News.

As at 10:30am the BBC reported that BA customers on cancelled flights will be able to claim a full refund or be re-booked on an alternative flight.

British Airways has warned that the impact of any attempt to increase restrictions on early morning flights into Heathrow would have a dramatic impact on business travellers.

Only 16 flights are currently allowed to land at Heathrow between 04.30 and 06.00 with a total of 65 takeoffs and landings permitted between 06.00 and 07.00.

BA plane taking off early in the morning from Heathrow

Early morning take off

This is still a major issue for BA, despite the current night flights regime being extended until October 2017 earlier this week.

The DFT has also extended current night flight regulations at Gatwick and Stansted until 2017.