Qantas could lose its Heathrow airport slots and faces fines for late arrivals

Photo: Getty Images

Qantas’ on-time performance into Britain’s Heathrow airport has been slipping, with the airline warning staff and crews it may be stripped of its valuable landing slots if arrival times don’t improve.

The AFR got hold of an internal memo, sent out by Qantas’ manager of base operations at Sydney, Captain Martin Gardiner, which detailed the airline’s performance woes.

Here’s a snippet:

“As a result of our performance, London airport has given Qantas an official warning; meaning that we could be fined £20,000 [$AU for each non-compliance of our slot time, or worse lose our slot.”

“We have been asked to advise Heathrow what our plans are to improve this performance. All areas of the business including flight operations are now monitoring the performance of these services very closely so that we can improve our performance and retain our landing slots in [London].”

In February Qantas’ on-time performance rating dropped to 75th out of 80 airlines that hold slots at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest aviation hub.

Last year Qantas boosted the hours its A380s fly on international routes.

In his memo, Captain Gardiner said the re-timing of flights had placed additional stress on Qantas’ network and turn-around times.

A Qantas spokesperson pointed to air-traffic congestion at Heathrow and Dubai as another reason for the recent delays.

In 2012, Qantas all but abandoned Singapore as a hub, shifting operations to Dubai and cutting links with British Airways in order to cement an alliance with Emirates. This re-alignment and the subsequent cancellation of Qantas’ Frankfurt route in April 2013 meant Europe was less central to the airline’s overall strategy.

Heathrow defines late aircraft as those arriving or departing 15 minutes past their allotted time slots.

There’s more here.

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