25 January 2011

Lord Birt (Backbencher) – Asked Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of (a) the economic loss to passengers and airlines arising from the closure of Heathrow airport due to severe weather in December 2010, and (b) how that loss compares with the incremental cost of the airport investing in sufficient equipment and operational capacity to match global best practice in keeping airports open in adverse weather.

 Earl Attlee (Government whip, Conservative): The Government are considering the impact of the disruption arising from December’s severe weather. Alongside this, the Government are drawing up proposals for a Bill to reform the framework for the economic regulation of airports. This would introduce a new licensing regime that would give the aviation regulator more flexibility, where appropriate, to require an improvement to airports’ resilience preparation in relation to factors such as severe weather that adversely affect air passengers. The Government plan to bring forward a Bill when parliamentary time allows.

 Sourced from Dehavilland