Government announces mixed-mode trial to combat delays at Heathrow
UK’s Department for Transport will allow London Heathrow Airport to use its two runways for both landing and take-off movements in a two-stage trial, in a bid to reduce the airport’s recovery time following disruptions (Business Traveller, 14-Jul-2011). This practice is already permitted, although the DfT will amend regulations to allow this to happen more often. The change means Heathrow can handle more services in a given period and thereby increase capacity. Heathrow operates on an alternating system, where one is used for take-offs and the other for landings, with the roles reversed at 15.00 each day. The airport has previously campaigned for its runways to be “mixed mode” at all times, but this was denied in Jan-2009 by the then-Labour government in favour of a third runway. The coalition government has since scrapped those plans.