Heathrow dual runway use may increase in test

Next month, Heathrow airport will begin trailing new rules over the use of its two runways.

Heathrow airport has two parallel runways which run east to west. Currently one runway is used for departing aircraft while the other is used for landing. When flights use the runways in a westerly direction, the usage of the runways varies to reduce the noise disruption faced by those living under the runway flightpath. Every day at 3pm the runways swap roles.

In some situations, both runways may be used for landing aircraft – between 6am and 7am and in emergency situations.

During this test which begins in November, the threshold for emergency use will change. The test threshold will mean that if a plane faces a 10 minute wait to land, or if30% of flights are delayed by more than 15 minutes, the airport can operate dual use to speed up arrivals.

The trial will end on 29th February 2012, with a second trial occurring which will coincide with the 2012 London Olympic games.

The changes should help maintain punctual flights at the airport.

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