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back to article Heathrow CIO pledges seamless future with £1.5bn collaborative system

The CIO of the world's busiest airport has announced that £1.5 billion will be sunk into improving real-time and decision-making software systems at Heathrow. Philip Langsdale gave 2012's Appleton Lecture at the Institute of Engineering and Technology and explained the systems that Heathrow needed to make the airport run …

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There is a reason I never fly into Heathrow ...

Some would call it the Atlantic ... but I do have the range, if I do a little island-hopping.

In reality, the paperwork is a bitch. Idiots.

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Stop

Re: There is a reason I never fly into Heathrow ...

If you need to island hop to cross the Atlantic then your aircraft is way too small for Heathrow anyway. It's a major hub catering for the big airlines and people with their own airforces.

For GA you're looking at Biggin Hill, London City etc, and the paperwork isn't trivial for any international flight.

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Pint

@Steve Todd (was: Re: There is a reason I never fly into Heathrow ...)

::heh:: Mea culpa.

I never knew that, never having actually tried it. The only airports where I've been at the controls when flying into Blighty are Leeds (several times, I have kin in Yorkshire) & Teeside (long story ...), all from and back to Denmark, and all originating & ending at points in Finland.

And the paperwork was a bitch ;-)

I'm not flying for a couple days. Beer? :-)

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Re: @Steve Todd (was: There is a reason I never fly into Heathrow ...)

Teesside.

This old lapt0p needs the keyb0rad c0mp0st rem0ved. I'll get 0n it ...

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Happy

Re: @Steve Todd (was: There is a reason I never fly into Heathrow ...)

Small world. My family comes from Teesside and I learned to fly there. Leeds is an interesting field to land at as, from memory, the 32 end stops at a cliff. It tends to make for tricky winds on approach. It was however part of the qualifying triangular route and, as my instructor used to say, on a good day you could see Leeds Bradford from Teesside.

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Stop

£1.5B is not a substitute for some common sense at Heathrow

Look around you next time when you are Heathrow - most of the problems there are people-generated. Unless this vast amount also includes for brain transplants, that is...

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Anonymous Coward

That makes this plan...

... a technology solution for a people problem. Technology can help, but never be the sole solution, and if he's trying that there anyway, then it's doomed to fail. Comparisons to that "smrt" T5 thingy come to mind. Oh hey, that's heathrow too. Have they managed to make the ruddy thing work properly now then?

No wonder he's hiding behind so many buzzwords.

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Devil

Why not spend the 1.5bn on more security and passport controls gates? And perhaps bringing the departure gates closer to the people in T5 so we don't have to trapse through 3km of bloody shops to get to our planes...?

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"Why not spend the 1.5bn on more security and passport controls gates?"

Security lanes at T5 have been increased since the terminal opened. Didn't seem to help much with the queues however :(

"And perhaps bringing the departure gates closer to the people in T5 so we don't have to trapse through 3km of bloody shops to get to our planes...?"

Heathrow is a shopping centre that happens to have planes leaving and arriving. LHR gets a significant chunk of its revenue from those shops. If the shops go away, the landing fee will go up quite a bit.

Not that I don't agree with you, however the geometry of that part of the airport means T5A will always be a huge building - its difficult to pack the planes in more tightly so it could be shrunk. Plus the lower levels (that us SLC never see) are probably jam packed with baggage handling systems, etc, and couldn't be shrunk.

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Anonymous Coward

"jam packed with baggage handling systems"

More like jam packed with luggage lost at the opening and afterwards that they never got around to returning.

Berlin Tegel (TXL) terminals A and B are a bit bewildering to navigate, but provided you don't walk the wrong way it only takes quite the short trip from entrance to gate.

Pity the bankrupt city government insisted on sinking a couple milliards into a brand new SXF, while closing THF (argument: costs 10 million to run annually; missed chance: could've been something like a LCY in Berlin) and promising to close TXL but first adding the annoying and rather shoddy terminal C because nuSXF wasn't quite ready yet. And won't be for a while, its opening just got delayed another six months or so. Airports and common sense are poor bedfellows, it seems.

Personally I like small airports better than large ones, like having to walk over a sunny tarmac from the terminal building to our ride on SPC, pausing a bit to watch the previous aeroplane buck up and take a running jump skyward. Got us a reprimand from the stewardess for tarrying and "endangering the slot". Piffle. She's seen it all before I suppose. Anyway, since hating the customer "for security reasons" is all the rage these days, bigger airports to better herd and fleece are preferreable to those who build and govern the ruddy things. I won't be flying voluntarily any time soon.

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Happy

Re: "jam packed with baggage handling systems"

Sunny tarmac? You've obviously not from the UK then...

+1 all the same.

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Anonymous Coward

That airport certainly isn't.

It's over in the Canary Islands. Quite sunny, I recall.

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FAIL

How about he sods off?

And HIRES more fucking Border Agents, more morons to be at the stand when a plane presents itself.

FFS -- more technology not needed. Less Morons in charge needed!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How about he sods off?

Your wish is granted.....he has Joe Harleys old job as Director General of CIT in DWP

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Re: How about he sods off?

Border Agents aren't employed by the airport, they're civil servants and the airport can't hire more of them.

However, for an APD charge of a *minimum* of £13 a flight (outbound and return remember), and perhaps as much as £184 a flight , you'd think the govt. would be able to afford a few more bodies at passport control desks.

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What's that English saying?

"You can't fit a quart into a pint pot".

And that's Heathrow Airport - a pint pot.

We don't run our systems at 99% capacity - because there is no contingency.

You need to run an airport with space for contingency.

All it takes is an aircraft blowing a tyre at LHR and the resultant chaos lasts all day.

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Happy

Blown tyre?

..or an inch of snow...

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Unhappy

Don't worry...

..the Heathrow extension will be opening in a few years time. AKA the High speed rail link.

Birmimgham International wants, and is like to get, another runway and be therefore be well under capacity. High sped link between BHX and London, job done.

What you belived it was to bring buisiness to the midlands? ha ha ha haa....£32bn cost to help the midlands, Oh stop it, your killing me.

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Anonymous Coward

Couple of things:

0) Heathrow sucks, as do BA (who should be renamed Lahndon Airways, since they basically don't serve any English airports outside London in any meaningful way)

1) I watched the recorded IET webcast of this lecture (at least, I think it was this one: Realtime Resilient Heathrow, or summat like that). Anybody else? Was it just me, or were the slides on the webcast permanently out of sync with the presenter?

2) Who remembers the T5 pre-opening fiasco? Apparently it's spread to Berlin.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/08/uk-germany-airport-berlin-idUSLNE84701620120508 (or just search your favourite news website for "berlin airport"). Not so widely reported in this context: the 1996 fire at Dusseldorf airport where 17 people were killed and many more injured, mostly by smoke inhalation. Non-functional smoke extraction systems are one of several reasons for the Berlin delay.

3, 4, 5...) Heathrow sucks, as do BA. For anyone west of Reading, you'd be better off travelling via Bristol, Birmingham, wherever, given the choice. Which usually we're not.

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Thumb Down

More reasons to avoid Heathrow

I have given up on Heathrow. It is a place to avoid, horrendous taxes and fees, massive long hikes in that "bloody awful place" T5. The contrast with Singapore and Hong Kong where I usually transit it marked. Two of the world's best airports, one of the worst. Even the attitude of the security staff contrasts badly, not to mention the efficiency of border control.

Spend the money on recruiting humans in security and diverting excess traffic to other airports.

Is this system seriously expected to work? Decision making by committee.

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