EU261 - 'out of our control'

Old Dec 2, 19, 6:03 am
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EU261 - 'out of our control'

I had a flight cancelled recently due to bad weather reducing capacity at Heathrow. As this is outside BA's control then no compensation is due is what I thought. But when I think about it further c65% of BA's flights that day did fly, so it is clear that BA had a choice as to which flights to cancel - so the need for cancellation is out of their control, but the need for them to cancel a specific flight is clearly within their control.

Hs this point been tested with BA (or elsewhere) and what is the collective's view as to mertis (or otherwise) of this?
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Old Dec 2, 19, 6:11 am
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Having so many flights at Heathrow that require better than poor weather conditions is a commercial decision for HAL and BA.
Poor weather conditions is inherent in the normal operations of airlines at LHR.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 6:17 am
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BA had no choice as to whether to cancel so many flights, only which ones to cancel. Either way, the test is not whether the cancellation was in BA's control but whether the circumstances were "extraordinary."

I think it's difficult to argue that weather is an "ordinary" (as opposed to "extraordinary") circumstance - the airport is designed to run at X capacity under ordinary circumstances, and BA takes full advantage of that.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 6:25 am
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The CAA has basically given BA an exemption from EU261 (and to all LHR airlines) if they have to pro activly cancel flights because of ATC restrictions (whether for weather or any other ATC reason)

There is a page on the CAA website where all such cancellations are listed because of this reasons and included all airlines.

I don't thunk this has been tested in court but they would rely heavily on the CAAs decision to exempt the flights.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 6:40 am
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Originally Posted by UKtravelbear View Post
...they would rely heavily on the CAAs decision to exempt the flights.
I wonder who funds the CAA....?
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Old Dec 2, 19, 6:45 am
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To offer a counter view how would any of us benefit if LHR planned to operated a hugely reduced schedule in winter to allow for weather.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 6:48 am
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It's an interesting one. BA choose to operate at a slot restricted, near capacity airport. Even less than extraordinary weather (e.g. light snow fall) leads to slot restrictions and cancellations.

So basically BA (and probably HAL even more so) are happily taking the benefits of running an airport at full capacity, but are then avoiding the cost of that when things go wrong?
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Old Dec 2, 19, 6:50 am
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Originally Posted by richardwft View Post
I wonder who funds the CAA....?
So?

Aitlines pay for ATC as well.

I used to work for another UK regulator who charged fees to the companies that we regulated.

The 'we pay for you' cut no mustard when it came to enforcement action.

The fact is these proactive cancellations are a rarity.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 6:55 am
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Originally Posted by LCY8737 View Post
It's an interesting one. BA choose to operate at a slot restricted, near capacity airport. Even less than extraordinary weather (e.g. light snow fall) leads to slot restrictions and cancellations.

So basically BA (and probably HAL even more so) are happily taking the benefits of running an airport at full capacity, but are then avoiding the cost of that when things go wrong?
I guess they could run at 90% maximum to provide some flexibility, but you would lose 10% of capacity every day to try and provide some operational room to manoeuvre for the around 10-20 days a year when there really is very significant weather which requires restrictions.

It would seem the current strategy of doing pro-active cancellations the day before based on forecasts is a far more targeted and efficient approach.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 7:54 am
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Originally Posted by dougzz View Post
To offer a counter view how would any of us benefit if LHR planned to operated a hugely reduced schedule in winter to allow for weather.
With an increased level of certainty as to whether a service could be operated.

Clearly there is a cost-benefit analysis to be made, but by voluntarily reducing the usage (vs maximum possible) post runway 3 construction, to me at least this is a clear indication LHR is over-utilised currently and crucially lacks resilience.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 8:05 am
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Originally Posted by Kgmm77 View Post
With an increased level of certainty as to whether a service could be operated.

Clearly there is a cost-benefit analysis to be made, but by voluntarily reducing the usage (vs maximum possible) post runway 3 construction, to me at least this is a clear indication LHR is over-utilised currently and crucially lacks resilience.
So say a 10% capacity reduction across all LHR airlines for say three months a year for the sake of maybe 10-20 days where weather does significantly reduce operations? At 1,300 flights a day that's about 130 flight reduction per day and around 11,700 flights which could have taken place across those three months on 90% of the days when there were not significant weather issues?

Which airlines do you think would voluntarily agree to that?
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Old Dec 2, 19, 8:16 am
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Originally Posted by Kgmm77 View Post
Clearly there is a cost-benefit analysis to be made, but by voluntarily reducing the usage (vs maximum possible) post runway 3 construction, to me at least this is a clear indication LHR is over-utilised currently and crucially lacks resilience.
If you're running a call center or shoe store you don't staff for the demand spikes. If you're running an airport you don't program for bad weather when skies are blue. Dynamic scheduling is most efficient for the enterprise.

I guarantee if LHR reduced traffic by 10 percent during winter months, 8 or 9 out of 10 of which are unaffected by wx delays, there would be mighty complaints about pointlessly underleveraged bandwidth.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 8:18 am
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
I guess they could run at 90% maximum to provide some flexibility, but you would lose 10% of capacity every day to try and provide some operational room to manoeuvre for the around 10-20 days a year when there really is very significant weather which requires restrictions.

It would seem the current strategy of doing pro-active cancellations the day before based on forecasts is a far more targeted and efficient approach.
In my experience of Operations at LHR, a 10% flow rate restrictions seldom, if ever, causes cancellations. Delays, sure; queues in the stack, most definitely; but at best a couple of flights might get canned due to night time jet bans here or in Europe. The short haul operation get rolling delays which continue to roll and roll until the final rotation, which might land at LHR 2 hrs late at night; however if you consider that the majority of the schedule finishes at 9PM the majority of the planes will arrive before the night jet ban.

A normal flow rate at LHR is around 50 movements/hour; a restriction triggering cancellations is in the region of 35-38, so approximately 25%. That's when you get some cancellations. When the flow rate is halved you get mass disruption.

If we assume a 25% reduction at LHR it means 1200*0.25 = 300 less flights a day. BA is approx. 55% of flights at LHR, so 165 less flights per day at LHR, every day, for the entire winter season. Considering that I haven't seen BA cancel 165 flights in a single go (for weather-related causes) since the days of the 'Beast from the East', it feels a bit over the top.

I do agree, however, that there is a need for more slack at LHR. And I don't, for a moment, think that HAL will ensure that there is any when R3 is on. Not with a new terminal and yadda yadda yadda. That Runway will get flooded, if not immediately then in a few years, with flights, because HAL is in the business of making money; and if BA is not willing to pick up capacity then it'll be somebody else, as long as the market demand is there.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 8:23 am
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More importantly, what rational traveler would want that?

Reduced capacity in the face of demand at a high enough PRASM to make a profit means that cutting capacity will drive prices higher. Moreover, in allocating those scarcer slots, carriers will eliminate routes and frequencies which have a lower PRASM.

The bottom line here is that the airspace over Western Europe is saturated and has little tolerance for anything beyond ordinary operations. At the same time, there is growing consumer demand and little desire by customers to pay more.

When people argue about weather not being an extraordinary circumstance because bad weather is a hallmark of LHR, what they forget is that what is extraordinary is that one cannot pinpoint when that bad weather will occur in a system which would otherwise require compensation for significant changes <14 days out. Anyone who can accurately determine whether the landing minimum for LHR will be met at a given time 15 days from now would indeed be a very rich person.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 8:42 am
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Originally Posted by lizban View Post
what is the collective's view as to mertis (or otherwise) of this?
I am an individual and not part of a 'collective'. My individual view is that there's zero merit in pursuing this. The chop has to fall somewhere and it fell on your flight.
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