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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 14:31 GMT
Heathrow dissatisfaction revealed
Overcrowding is one of the main concerns at Heathrow
Heathrow Airport has one of the lowest satisfaction scores for departure lounge crowding, check-in, and getting around the airport, says a report.

The Government report also said baggage reclaim satisfaction had one of the lowest scores among all BAA airports.

Between 2002 and 2006, the average delay at Heathrow had increased from 16.3 minutes to 18.8 minutes.

A BAA spokesperson said the company was committed to improving passenger experience across all of its airports.

Other BAA airports are Gatwick and Stansted.

'Strong argument'

BAA Heathrow managing director Mark Bullock said: "At Heathrow, in recent months, we have employed an additional 650 security officers and spent an extra 20m on employing more cleaners and improving our facilities.

"This is on top of the 6.2bn that we have committed over the next 10 years to improving infrastructure at the airport."

My priority is to improve the experience of air passengers and to do that we need to consider their whole journey time
Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly

He said the report showed the lack of runway capacity at Heathrow was the root cause of flight delays and was "a strong argument for a third runway at Heathrow".

The report also said latest data from the Borders and Immigration Agency showed that over a two-week period in October 2007, average queue lengths at the inbound border control at Heathrow were between 10 and 13 minutes for non-EU passengers and four to five minutes for EU passengers.

Under a target set by the Civil Aviation Authority queues should be less than 10 minutes long for 95% of the time.

The report said Heathrow's overall performance against this target had improved recently but "the target may conceal longer queue times for some travellers, such as transfer passengers".

'Significant investments'

Regarding getting to and arriving at Heathrow, the report said that Heathrow's two runways were operating at 98.5% of capacity compared with 74% at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, which "reduced resilience and led to delays", the report said.

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly, who launched the report, said: "My priority is to improve the experience of air passengers and to do that we need to consider their whole journey time.

"It is not simply the flight that matters. It's the journey to the airport, the time spent in the queue at check-in, security or immigration, and any delays spent on the aircraft waiting for a slot to take off."

She said BAA was making significant investments to expand capacity at Heathrow, such as Terminal 5 which will open next March, and will have "a major impact on the passenger experience".

In the past 10 years, the number of passengers travelling to and from Heathrow has risen from 37.3 million to 44.2 million.

BA boss joins attack on Heathrow
01 Aug 07 |  Business

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