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Last year, London Heathrow's fuel farm had a catastrophic failure in the form of an explosion and uncontained fire. Total fatalities: zero. Severe disruption to airline operations, however, as LHR was forced to severely ration available fuel. Many flights took off from Heathrow with minimal fuel and topped up at other nearby airports before starting their main route. As a terrorist strategy, blowing up airport fuel farms is pretty ineffective at causing mass loss of life.


"Severe" it wasn't - not compared to, say, the BA check-in agents' strike the year before, or "SELECT FROM security scares WHERE impact="long queues". Not many flights were actually cancelled.

It wasn't the airport tank farm, but a fuel depot that supplies many customers including LHR. Heathrow's tankfarm can receive fuel by pipeline from Buncefield (the one that exploded) and also from Fawley refinery on the south coast, and also has rail loading facilities which usually make up about 15 per cent of total fuel delivery. In the crisis this was radically ramped up.

Other mitigation included not only sending off aircraft with reduced fuel states to tank up elsewhere, but also tankering - that is, uplifting all fuel conformable with the loadsheet down-route and taking it with you. For most shorthaul routes, you can tanker enough fuel to get to London and then on to the next destination.

Steven Taylor

But, they were terrorists and the US government foiled a terrorist plot--you are just muddying the waters by pointing out that they were basically a group of guys with delusions of grandeur.

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