Heathrow Airport’s Top Tales

Read a local residents view of Heathrow Airport’s Top Tales. Tales that motivated this ordinary resident to do something extraordinary.

In his Council Blog entitled, “Wisdom’s blog 26 May 2017: an eye opening week“, Independent Councillor for Clewer North, Wisdom Da Costa related a story about ordinary people doing the extraordinaryquestions for residents on voting for your Mayorunexpected planning decisionsodd comments from Councillors and, good news for Clewer North residents.

Ordinary people doing the extraordinary

Paul’s told me that at the West Drayton Consultation he had a long conversation with a DfT official, during which the official informed Paul that we know that Heathrow have a believability issue.   “However it is much more than just ‘believability’“, Paul thinks.

Paul’s list of Heathrow Airport’s Top Tales

Here in detail, based on his extensive experience, are Paul’s list of Heathrow Airport’s Top Tales; Tales that motivated this ordinary resident to do something extra-ordinary;

  1. They say that planes are quieter than in the ‘70s. They are a little quieter, but not by much and currently there are twice as many as in the ‘70s with only 20 or 30 seconds respite between the noise of one aircraft approaching and flying on and the next one approaching. This is very frustrating when for example in the garden and trying to hold a conversation, let alone the ill effects of noise and pollution.
  2. They say that steeper approaches will reduce noise. This is an exaggeration by Heathrow Airport Ltd. Approaching at their proposed 3.2 degrees instead of the norm of 3 degrees used by Heathrow and almost all international airports only increases height on the approach path by 6.7%. Their promotional diagram suggests much more, even a 75% increase in height which is disingenuous. Increased glide slope also requires more use of flaps in order to remain slow for landing, which in turn creates more noise. They also had difficulty and had to abandon their steeper approach trials.
  3. Heathrow propose themselves as “supporting the Northern Powerhouse”, giving exaggerated illustration and promotion. However the regions are much better supported by development and use of existing regional airports and facilities. In support of this please also see the following link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point-to-point_transit
  4. Heathrow Airport say that they have to create a UK Hub airport. However, orders for large “hub” aircraft, the large Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8, have dried up and the trend is to “point-to-point”.
    • As at August last year, Airbus and Boeing orders were:
intro engines approx seats 2013 2014 2015 2016 Totals
Airbus A380 2005 4 up to 615 42 13 2 nil 319
Boeing 747-8 2005 4 up to 605 24 19 18 3 125
Boeing 777 1995 2 up to 407 121 283 58 8 1893
Airbus A330 1992 2 up to 400 108 108 103 30 1453
Boeing 787 2004 2 up to 323 182 41 71 13 1155
Airbus A350 2006 2 up to 366 230 -32 -3 25 802
  • Note that A380 orders for 2014 were only 13, for 2015 were only 2 and 2016 to date are nil. There was some suggestion that Airbus may cease production of the A380 after 2018 and to date they have halved A380 production rates and have shelved a freight version of the A380. During collating this, Qantas have said that they will likely convert their remaining 8 A380 orders to 787s or A350s.
  • So since then, total orders for A380s have been negative, i.e. cancellations!
  • Over the last 3 ½ years and maybe longer, the trend for long-range aircraft has been away from the large 4 engined hub aircraft, the A380 and Boeing 747, towards the more economical twin Boeing 777 and A330, and the mid-sized advanced Boeing 787 and A350.
  • Passengers increasingly prefer to fly direct point-to-point rather than via a hub sometimes in directions away from the direct route, which can add many hours to a journey. New York for example does not have a hub airport, but rather JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports.
  1. Heathrow plan to become “the transatlantic cargo hub for Europe”, with an increase in “Air-truck Cargo” of 2 ½ times from 2014 to 2040. This is nothing to do with UK Exports, which Heathrow claim to promote and it means 2 ½ times more diesel trucks and vans around the M25 to and from Eurotunnel. The only beneficiaries are Heathrow and its foreign investors and (probably mostly foreign) truckers, and to the serious detriment of residents in the surrounding area.
  2. Heathrow promoted “Fake Jobs” to gain approval to build Terminal 5. They said that they would create 6,000 jobs.  Ever since they have refused to say how many new jobs they have created at T5, however using the airport’s own figures, Heathrow staffing since then has actually reduced by 3,000.  This is taken from “T5 Inform” BAA briefing leaflet for local residents. Issue 5 Summer 2007page 6 “Nearly 79,000 staff employed at the airport”, and “Heathrow 2.0” March 2017 – page 19 “Heathrow Airport currently employs 76,000 people.”  Check-in and baggage handling have been largely automated and made self-service, they plan the use of driverless vehicles and Border force didn’t take on any new staff for T5 – just moved people from other terminals. Heathrow is seeking a cut in the ratio of staff to passengers and a reduction in their pay packages.  Heathrow’s motivation for expansion is huge profit for its own mainly foreign shareholders, not to gain employees. It is well known that The Thames Valley and West London are areas of relatively high (some commentators say “practically full”) employment.  Those unemployed may not have a good match to Heathrow jobs and they may not pass the stringent airport security requirements. Consequently Heathrow jobs are typically filled by people coming into the area, often from abroad, creating more pressure on local housing, infrastructure, schools, NHS etc. They haven’t fulfilled their own jobs promises and cannot be trusted on jobs promises for the wider economy, which are based on their inflated promises of business benefit for the country.
  3. Heathrow’s motivation for expansion is huge profit for its own mainly foreign shareholders, not to gain employees or business for Britain!  Heathrow paid £2.1bn in dividends over the recent 4 years to shareholders in China, Singapore, Qatar, Spain and Canada, and only £24m in Corporation tax to the UK Exchequer. Please see that attached Sunday Times article “Heathrow pays £2bn to owners – and £24m tax”. In response Heathrow said this was as a result of having sold off Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh, however those foreign institutional owners receive an ongoing £350m to £400m in dividends each year from Heathrow operations. In response to their £24m Corporation Tax over the last 10 years, they say that they “pay business rates and employer’s tax”, but like all other businesses, so they should.
  4. The Highways England” report of October 2016, several times says that the Heathrow project team come to ongoing meetings full of promise but with no real progress to show from the last meeting. This is typical of the way they operate and “falsely promote”. It bodes very badly on the failure of the whole project – which will probably be hugely over budget and over time as per other large public projects.

Paul’s amazing story

Read more about Paul’s story at, “Wisdom’s blog 26 May 2017: an eye opening week” – click here to find out about the extraordinary lengths that Paul has gone to fuelled by the, as he puts it, exaggerations of Heathrow Airport

Accountably yours,


Independent Councillor, Clewer North, Windsor



The views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of the West Windsor Residents Association (WWRA)