Monday, 2 February 2009
No weather problems at Glasgow Prestwick Airport
as it welcomes diverted international flights
By: Murdoch MacDonald
ALL British Airways connections to Heathrow were cancelled today as the heaviest snowfall to hit the UK capital in 18 years brought the hub to a standstill.
Mark Rodwell, chief executive of Glasgow Prestwick Airport said Glasgow Prestwick expected to handle about 1,000 extra passengers as a number of long haul flights due to land at Heathrow were being diverted there because of the conditions south of the border.
Passengers on the services from the United States, the middle east and the far east were being put up in local hotels in Ayrshire overnight.
Flights diverted from Heathrow to Glasgow Prestwick Airport included:
* British Airways Boeing 747 from San Francisco to Heathrow with 198 passengers.
* British Airways Boeing 777 from New York JFK to Heathrow with 210 passengers.
* British Airways Boeing 747 from Cairo to Heathrow with 192 passengers.
* British Airways Boeing 747 from San Francisco to Heathrow with 151 passengers
* British Airways Boeing 747 from Peking to Heathrow with 142 passengers
* British Airways Boeing 747 from Tokyo to Heathrow with 260 passengers
Glasgow Prestwick Airport’s own schedule has been largely unaffected, apart from the cancellation of one Ryanair flight to Stansted this morning due to the weather in London.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive Mark Rodwell (pictured above) said: “This is an airport with an excellent weather record and plenty of space for aircraft to park, so we are delighted that we can accommodate these diverted flights today. We have mobilised all available employees to ensure we can handle hundreds of additional inbound passengers and make suitable arrangements for them.
“Our employees have handled large volumes of aircraft and passengers in the past for major events, and they have made a fantastic effort again today. By the end of the day we expect that approximately an additional 1500 passengers will have arrived at Prestwick, inbound from destinations like Tokyo, Peking, San Francisco, New York and Cairo.
“Hotel accommodation is being arranged on behalf of the airline for the disrupted passengers, with most being accommodated in the local area. Some passengers have elected to make their own alternative arrangements via hire cars or rail.
“We are waiting to hear from British Airways regarding flight arrangements for tomorrow.”
And John Scott MSP said the weather problems in London brought a welcome boost to the Ayrshire economy.
Mr Scott said: “While obviously I have the greatest sympathy for the people who have been diverted, I am sure others in Ayrshire are delighted to welcome the unexpected guests.
“They will provide a boost to the local hoteliers and the diversions will be a boost to Prestwick airport.
“I hope these people enjoy their time in this snow-free area and that they will come back again.
“This demonstrates that Prestwick Airport is of national strategic importance in terms of UK air infrastructure.
“We usually have a fog, ice and snow-free zone. The airport was built here in 1935 for these characteristics.”
Ayr Racecourse general manager Geoff Green said: “Around 800 passengers arrived at the racecourse on Monday afternoon. We gave them hot drinks and food.
“Some were able to stay overnight in the Western House Hotel while others headed to hotels in Glasgow.
“We utilised the Ayrshire suite, which can cater for 1000 people. The last passengers left at around 7.30pm.”
All passengers were back on board their flights and Heathrow bound by 3pm on Tuesday.
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