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Snow chaos costs BAA £24M

This winter’s heavy snow affected all of BAA’s airports and cost the firm £24M, it revealed today.

The approximate financial cost by airport, measured in terms of the reduction in profit, was £19M at Heathrow, £1M at Stansted and £4M across the group’s four other UK airports of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Southampton.

The reduction in profits partly reflects lower revenues, principally in terms of lost aeronautical income driven by reduced passenger traffic.

A significant proportion (approximately 40% at Heathrow) of the reduction in profit resulted from higher operating expenses which, other than the extra costs of operating in unusually severe winter weather, reflected in particular the costs of supporting passengers in the difficult circumstances.

These costs included the provision of significant additional personnel and other resources to assist passengers in our airport terminals as well as the cost of providing hotel accommodation, catering and other care for substantial numbers of stranded passengers.

On 23 December 2010, BAA chief executive Colin Matthews announced an enquiry to establish the lessons that can be learned from recent events at Heathrow.

“We are sorry for the flights that had to be cancelled as a result of the snow. The cost of any disruption to BAA’s airports is significant and a strong financial incentive for us to continue to make Heathrow more resilient,” said Matthews.

“There were many challenges in 2010, ranging from poor weather and security threats through to industrial action and the cloud of volcanic ash.

“But we have continued our £1bn-a-year investment programme and are encouraged by Heathrow’s underlying positive performance during challenging economic times.”

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