Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Collision threat

Until retirement in 1997, I was BAA facilities planning director and was responsible for the planning of T5 from 1988. As part of that role my team looked at the likelihood of another runway between the M4 and the A4.

We judged the risk of air collision to be so difficult to gauge that it would not be possible to say in the witness box that we had proved the level of safety to be acceptable.

However, some points that should be considered include:

- the two main runways are operating at the maximum of achievable capacity.

- for take-offs to the west, many short-haul aircraft veer to the south for Europe, while large numbers of the heavy long-haul aircraft turn north for the Great-Circle routes.

- crossing conflicts of the aircraft take-off movements using the current runways would be considerable if the construction of a short-haul runway is to occur north of the airport.

To pay-back it would have to be run at capacity during peak hours. I have stood back from prompting the current professionals in the belief that the obvious must be under assessment.

In all the promotion for this runway, however, I have not seen that the above issue has been touched. It is to be hoped that dictating fundamentals in major project proposals are given proper credence before letting loose potentially unrealisable dreams in the public arena. I will be interested to hear if I need to stand corrected on these observations.


Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.