Have an MBA Christmas!

London-Heathrow is usually the second busiest airport in the world. During the holiday season, more than 200,000 passengers a day arrive at
the terminal on their way to spend Christmas
with their families.

Like most airports most days, flying out of Heathrow is rarely a pleasant experience,
but on an OK day, it more or less works.

For the last 5 days, though, things have been
pretty f*cking far from OK.

The trouble began with some bad weather on December 16th, just as the busiest travel time
of the year got underway. Then, on December 19th, disaster struck, with 4 inches of snow falling
and temperatures plunging to -3 Centigrade.

Typically, 1,300 flights come and go, but on
this day, only 15 were able to pull it off. Given the nature of contemporary travel, the ripple effects were immediate, and global.

Planes that were expected at foreign destinations were unable to leave Heathrow and planes seeking to fly there were unable to, as they say, go there.

Millions of lives have been affected so far, as
people's plans for happy holidays turn to into
so many lumps of coal.

Luggage losses are estimated in the hundreds of thousand of pieces, with particularly heavy losses among those checked in after the airport was effectively closed to travel.

What makes this such a Masterful moment
in Business Administration?

BACKSTORY -  In 1987,
under the auspices of Ms. Margaret Thatcher, Heathrow Airport was one 6 Britsh airports privatized (sold) to BAA, a subsidiary of the Spanish company Ferrovial.

This year,
Ferrovial spent £500,000* on equipment to deal with snow and ice at Heathrow.

During that same time period, BAA spent £35,000,000 on upgrades to retail space in Terminals 3 and 4.

Colin Matthews, Heathrow's chief executive, will
be paid more than £1,000,000 in salary, bonuses and pension contributions this year.

Ferrovial is expected to announce pre-tax profits
of nearly £1,000,000,000  (
$1,574,048,610 CAD) for 2010.


These four facts alone might conjure a shit-storm among stressed-out holiday travelers, particularly as some head into their fourth night sleeping on the floor at the airport....

but as usual, there's more!

At the same time over in socialistic Finland, at Helsinki airport, temperatures dropped to -25C
and almost 3 feet of snow fell, but no delays were reported.

And at the also socialistic Stockholm airport, where more than a foot of snow fell, they remained open and the only flight cancellations were the ones destined for the UK.

Similar reports came from several other airports across Europe, and even Canadian travelers were quoted as saying "3 inches? WTF?"

Some petulant British travelers have also pointed out that the 2010/2011winter is the 3rd consecutive one where "proper snow, decent depth, staying for a few days" has occurred and that this also happened in 2005 and 2006.


What takes this to the Masters
of Business Administration bonus round?

The company faces a public relations nightmare
of unusually large dimensions. These travelers and their families will not soon forget the Christmas
of 2010.

The embarrassment fall-out has spread to include the Mayor of London and a variety of government ministers whose Christmases are now also being 'impacted' in a most unfavourable fashion.

BAA's average loss of revenues each day when their airports are not running is estimated at £5,500,000 per day.

...which, as some passengers go into their fifth day of sleeping on the floor and/or praying for deliverance, means that cheaping out on snow and ice services have already cost BAA more than £25,000,000***.

...and things are still pretty f*cking far from OK at Heathrow. The best estimate is that schedules will not return to anything like normal til after Christmas.

* In a second announcement 2 days later, the 'official' figure
had gone up to £3,000,000**

** In the most recent announcement, the company has claimed more than £6,000,000 was invested in weather preparations
for the winter of 2010/2011

*** estimate includes an allowance of
£2, 500,000 for extra food and beverage expenditures by travelers effectively
trapped at the airport.

follow the fun at The Telegraph - don't forget to read the comments sections after each article about this debacle!

- 30 -


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1 comment:

Tatyana said...

Ha ha ha. Brilliant and sharp as always Dugg.
I love your humor. I wish your pictures with with comments were on my 2011 calendar.
They kick ass. I'd by a few for my friends.