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#938926 by Kraken
07 Oct 2017, 20:50
Having looked at the VS Source, it seems Virgin position their aircraft between the various UK bases on a regular basis - for varying reasons (maintenance / aircraft swaps etc).

Anyone know how this works at a slot congested airport like LHR? It's widely stated that LHR is running at around 98% capacity, so there is next to nothing to play with, especially when the weather is not kind. Are Virgin using one half of a slot pair (i.e. a landing or takeoff) when they position aircraft to / from LHR - or to a lesser extent LGW as that's pretty busy?

What happens if Virgin want to position from LGW to LHR at a time when LHR is very busy (i.e. pretty much anytime, but there are of course peaks and troughs). Does HAL use the spare 2% of capacity for cases like this or can airlines be told "no, we're full at that time of day"? Obviously I appreciate some positioning flights are planned well in advance, but there must be some fairly last minute ones that occur when aircraft go technical & VS need to decide which flights take priority for fleet resources.
#938929 by TimCrawley
08 Oct 2017, 03:58
The only blurb I ever saw on slots for LGW/LHR was back when ACL ran the slot allocation for both (don't know if they still do) and they did allow overbooking of slots for exceptionals as below (but note you still had to book a slot for "Any planned positioning of an aircraft" and "Positioning to replace an aircraft undergoing planned maintenance, including instances of a maintenance overrun") .... so that still doesn't seem to explain Kraken's original question as surely VS can't be the only ones needing fairly regular (but unpredictable in terms of day of week and time of day so not really a regular) repositioning slots just for routine maintenance....surely airlines don't have to use and give up an existing slot at both airports, an outbound then an inbound, as they can't have aircraft circling the south east for hours on end after leaving LGW as a VS LGW-BGI take-off slot then waiting in the air until the VS LAX-LHR landing slot comes due in order to fly LGW-LHR!

Overbooking slots considered at discretion for positioning flights to replace an unserviceable aircraft or other unforeseeable schedule disruption (eg, severe weather) and resume a planned commercial passenger service, limited to the following circumstances:
- Inbound positioning to recover a planned departure service
- Outbound positioning to recover a based-carrier’s own service
- The return of a based-carrier’s recovery aircraft to resume planned operations
Overbooking will not be considered in circumstances such as:
- Outbound positioning to recover another air carrier’s service, ie, a sub-charter
- Positioning to replace an aircraft undergoing planned maintenance, including instances of a maintenance overrun
- Any planned positioning of an aircraft
#938942 by ColOrd
08 Oct 2017, 19:38
Presumably that 2% is a headline figure for spare capacity and not indicative of where there will be planning "white space" for operating reasons.

I work on a section of railway that has some of the highest track utilisation in the world, but within that there is always time to run additional empty coaching stock paths, engineering access, etc etc.

My own observation being a little bit geeky at Heathrow - Saturday afternoons seem a bit quieter and I've often seen a couple of BA moves for stuff to/from Cardiff for maintenance.
#938950 by Kraken
08 Oct 2017, 23:32
Didn't BA infamously run empty ghost flights from LHR-CWL (Cardiff) to keep some unused slots "active" in the past? I'm pretty sure I read that they did.
#938951 by tontybear
09 Oct 2017, 00:12
Yes they did. Though coincidentally BA do have a maintenance base in Cardiff.
#938957 by mitchja
09 Oct 2017, 11:18
Doesn't BA also allegedly use domestic flights as slot minder flights as well now ever since they took over BMI, hence why they cancel / merge many of their domestic flights at pretty short notice?

I think they also use domestic flights as positioning flights too as I've been on a couple of wide body A/C before on that same route as well. BMI used to do the same thing occasionally as well to re-position their long haul A/C.

I've had 4 BA domestic flights canceled and changed all in the same year on the MAN>LHR>MAN route. That's the main reason why I've stopped using them now.
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