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Sun 19 Dec 2010 05:56 PM

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Emirates lashes out at UK airports body amid winter chaos

Emirates ability to resolve passenger backlog in London is ‘very limited' - Tim Clark

Emirates lashes out at UK airports body amid winter chaos
Emirates Airline president Tim Clark said the carrier had been forced to strand passengers following BAAs decision to close airports
Emirates lashes out at UK airports body amid winter chaos
Emirates Airline president Tim Clark

A senior Emirates official has criticised the British Airports Authority (BAA) for refusing to allow two of its aircraft to land in the UK, and has warned that the airline faces a massive task in coping with the backlog of passengers now stranded in London.

Earlier on Sunday, London Heathrow – Europe’s largest airport – announced that it would not accept any arriving flights, with only a handful of departures.   

“Emirates was surprised to be told by the British Airports Authority (BAA) that after two of our flights from Dubai to London Heathrow were fully on route, they were not going to be allowed to land because the airport was closed,” said Emirates president Tim Clark in an emailed statement.

“This is despite the fact that we operated these flights in compliance with the BAA requirements that Heathrow Airport would accept flight arrivals after 11:00 am local time. 

“This has caused enormous inconvenience to the 900 plus passengers on-board, in addition to those who have already been stranded in the UK and Europe,” Clark added.

The Emirates president said that the airline had also had to cancel three further fully booked Heathrow flights today, and that return flights to Dubai had also been affected as a result.

“Emirates’ ability to mount the extra sections required to recover the enormous back-log is very limited and we will be discussing this issue with the BAA,” he said.

However, Clark said that all other Emirates flights in and out of the UK had been operational.

On Sunday afternoon, Emirates announced that it will not be accepting passengers for travel to Heathrow for the next 24 hours – until roughly midday on Monday, UAE time.


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Kia Foster 9 years ago

This shows me one thing, Emirates are more interested in their money than the safety of their passengers. If the BAA says they cannot land it is because it is not 101% safe.

Firstnectar 9 years ago

The UK has become the joker of pack. A little bit of snow and everything grinds to a halt. The UK authorities just don't want to spend money. Tax's keep rising, cost of livinig is rising but nothing is spent to improve the pre-war conditions of the general infrastructure of the UK. Snow falls in Russia and Canada and other parts of the world in huge quantities...but things don't grind to a halt. Pathetic.

Mark Machenzie 9 years ago

Kia Foster. This shows me one thing. The brits are so backward that they can't even clear a bit of snow from their runways. In Calgary it snows loads more that in London and surprise surprise, all the airports are running on the second. Get civilized before opening your airports to the world.

Vicky Taylor 9 years ago

But it snows heavily every year in Canada and Russia, it doesn't in the UK, the last two winters have been the worst in over 20 years. For 20 years we have had very little snow so why would we have to have the kind of equipment they have in Canada rotting away most years!

jon 9 years ago

Being British, I'm forced to agree with some of the comments here - it's embarrassing when the whole country grinds to a halt over a bit of snow...

Sandpiper 9 years ago

Mark and Firstnectar, this is a rather harsh way to describe Brits, and not really thought through. It only snows on average 3 days per year in England, and rarely settles. The weather they are experiencing this winter happens on average once every 10 years (though I know they had similar experience last year, so much for global warming...) It is simply not economically feasible for them to keep the sort of equipment you have in Calgary to be used just a couple of times in an average year. Don't know what you have got against the Brits, but lighten up my friends.

Joe Karcia 9 years ago

Kia Foster, of course they are in the business to make money. What's the big deal in it for you to write with so much hatred. Just like any company, they too have financial obligations. They're a fantastic airline compared to most European and Canadian.

Apart from that, my friends in Canada are stuck who needs to travel to Asia. EK, EY and QA has limited flights to Canada with fully booked. The only option is to travel via Europe to Asia and the airports are shut down.
Canada, you would have put a lot of people in your country out of their misery if you had let Gulf Carriers fly twice daily as they requested. Nevertheless, people living Vancouver, Calgary have no option but fly through Europe and they can't.

PP 9 years ago

Bash bash bash - check the press - the German airports were also suffering with several major airports also closed.

Open your minds people - not every media piece should be turned into a competition of country x vs country y.

This is getting very dull and boring. For every argument, there is a counter-argument.

Willie W 9 years ago

Dear Mark,

What an intelligent reply you made.

Comparing a place that gets a lot of snow (Calgary) and has therefore invested in equipment to deal with the snow that it gets with place that does not get a lot of snow (London) and therefore has not invested in equipment to deal with the little snow it gets.

It is remarkable that an airport that is experiencing some of the worst winter weather conditions in 20 years might struggle to continue to operate.

Best regards,


TelcoGuy 9 years ago

I used to fly from Switzerland and Sweden in winter with no problems. A much smaller amount of snow could stop other airports... you in Calgary are used to handle snow. You do it every year, have the equipment and the training.
I am not saying that UK infrastructure is without flaws (not been there in a while), but is not fair to compare Canadian / Nordic expertise of snow with that from warmer countries.