Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 12:55 UK

Delays become worse at Heathrow

Arrivals at Heathrow
BAA says a third runway would cut delays

Delays at Heathrow airport have increased, new figures have shown.

Civil Aviation Authority statistics show more aircraft ran late during the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period 12 months ago.

In all, 38% of planes arrived or left the airport more than 15 minutes after they should, compared to 36% in between April and June 2007.

The British Airports Authority (BAA), owner of the west London airport, said a lack of capacity was to blame.

The figures show the average delay at Heathrow in this year's second quarter was 19 minutes, one minute up from the same period in 2007.

Third runway

A spokesman for BAA said: "Heathrow is full and its dependence on two runways causes delays, stacks and taxiway queues. Other European competitors have four or five runways.

"This report emphasises the need for a third runway at Heathrow to help cut delays."

John Stewart, from Hacan Clearskies, which campaigns against the expansion of Heathrow, said the airport is currently operating at 99% of capacity and a reduction to 95% or lower is a way of cutting delays.

"This shows that Heathrow is too full and we have to limit the slots for short-haul flights which are clogging up the runways and indirectly leading to the delays," he added.

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