Britain, a Third World country?

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Britain, a Third World country?

Post by TexasBlue on Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:43 am

Britain, a Third World country?

Ggregory Katz and Shawn Pogatchnik
Associated Press
December 21, 2010


LONDON - The snow was melting off London's streets on Tuesday, but Heathrow Airport told infuriated passengers that it won't restore full service until Thursday -- five days after a 5-inch snowfall turned hundreds of thousands of holiday plans into a nightmare of canceled flights and painful nights sleeping on terminal floors.

Travelers' anger boiled over as Britain's prime minister offered to put troops on snow-clearing duty and Europe's top transport official threatened tougher regulation of airports unable to cope with wintry weather.

"It's pathetic -- you would think this is a Third World country," said Janice Phillips, 29, who was trying to get back to Minneapolis. "All they've been talking about was this snow forecast. You would think the government could do a better job."

"It's not even snowing!" said Candie Sparks, 19, who was trying to get back to Santa Fe, N.M. "It's crazy."

Three days after a driving snowfall that ended on Saturday after dumping five inches in an hour, the terminals at Heathrow were clogged on Tuesday with passengers desperately looking at computer screens to see if they would be able to get to their destinations. So many people were sprawled on the floor that it was difficult to walk.

Transportation experts said that after many years without heavy snowfall, underinvestment had left Heathrow and dozens of other airports across Britain and Ireland without enough equipment or personnel to cope with big storms.

European Union transportation commissioner Siim Kallas threatened tougher regulations if performance does not improve. "Better preparedness, in line with what is done in Northern Europe, is not an optional extra, it must be planned for and with the necessary investment," he said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said his government had offered military assistance to the company that operates Heathrow, BAA Ltd., which thanked him but said it didn't need the help.

Still, even as the second of Heathrow's two runways was reopened late Tuesday, officials said they needed "breathing space" to clear remaining snow, restart equipment and move planes and crews back into place. As a result, the airport would only operate about one-third of its normal flight schedule until Thursday.
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Re: Britain, a Third World country?

Post by TexasBlue on Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:44 am

Title is misleading Very Happy.... so it goes in Chatter.
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Re: Britain, a Third World country?

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:40 pm

TexasBlue wrote:Travelers' anger boiled over as Britain's prime minister offered to put troops on snow-clearing duty
The funniest thing about this bit that we were having a good chuckle about at the weekend: the military is on leave for Christmas and has been since Friday.

TexasBlue wrote:You would think the government could do a better job."
"The Goverment" were well prepared. I'm all for calling government to account but lets not blame them for things beyond their control. Mobility has been pretty much unaffected since the weekend - when most of the country had significant snowfall because they were prepared. They need to blame Heathrow airport management for this cock up.

TexasBlue wrote:underinvestment had left Heathrow
You know what fucks me off most about this? The ever increasing "airport duties" and "fuel surcharges". Seriously, wtf are the airports spending the money on?!

TexasBlue wrote:British Prime Minister David Cameron said his government had offered military assistance to the company that operates Heathrow, BAA Ltd., which thanked him but said it didn't need the help.
Uh huh. Seems to me as if they did. slapping head
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Re: Britain, a Third World country?

Post by dblboggie on Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:39 pm

This really does look every bit like a cock up by BAA. They're the operator, it's their mess.
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