London Heathrow airport is warning of disruption for nearly two hours on Wednesday as the late Queen’s coffin is moved from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.
The aim is to “ensure silence over central London” as the procession moves.
The UK’s busiest airport says there will be “further changes to the Heathrow operation on Monday 19 September” – the day of the funeral.
In addition, the Scottish airline Loganair says it will not operate flights during the funeral.
What is happening today?
At 2.22pm, the Queen’s coffin will begin its journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall – a journey of about one mile through central London.
The late Queen will lie in state at Westminster Hall until the funeral on Monday. The public will be able to visit from 5pm on Wednesday to 6.30am on Monday.
Why is Heathrow affected?
The usual flight path for aircraft landing at Heathrow crosses the capital just south of the centre, which would produce a significant amount of noise in the area of the events.
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Out of respect for the period of mourning following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Heathrow will be making appropriate alterations to our operation.
“Some flights between 1.50pm and 3.40pm local time on Wednesday 14 September will be disrupted to ensure silence over central London as the ceremonial procession moves from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.
“We anticipate further changes to the Heathrow operation on Monday 19 September, when Her Majesty’s funeral is due to take place, and will communicate those in more detail over coming days.
“We apologise for the disruption these changes cause, as we work to limit the impact on the upcoming events.”
How many flights and passengers will be affected on Wednesday?
Because the airport is, unusually, on “easterlies” the disruption will be limited.
Due to the wind direction, aircraft are landing from the east, rather than the west. While departing planes will take off to the east, towards central London, they can be routed away from Westminster relatively easily.
The Independent has identified flights on British Airways from Heathrow to Amsterdam, Basel, Dusseldorf, Faro, Hamburg, Rome, Stockholm and Warsaw, due to depart between 1.55pm and 3.40pm, that are described by BA as “cancelled due to airport restrictions”.
Together with the inbound flights, 16 in total will be cancelled – which is likely to affect more than 2,000 passengers.
No other airline appears to be cancelling flights at present.
What is likely to happen on Monday?
There could be much more significant disruption. Events in central London will last longer, with the Queen’s coffin initially taken from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey, where the state funeral service will take begin at 11am
After the funeral, the coffin will travel in procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner. The coffin will then travel to Windsor. Once there, the state hearse will travel in procession to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Whatever the wind direction on the day, many flights could be delayed or cancelled in order to avoid noise over central London in the morning and over Windsor in the afternoon.
Will other London airports be affected?
The closest to the centre of the capital is London City, but aircraft can be routed to avoid the Westminster area. Some disruption to flights to or from Luton, Stansted and Gatwick will occur if the higher flight levels over London are closed. This could cause delays but probably not cancellations .
What are passengers’ rights?
Travellers whose flights are cancelled are entitled to be flown on the same day, if any seats are available on any airline. If they are obliged to wait overnight, the airline must provide a hotel room and meals.
As the cause is classified as “extraordinary circumstances,” no cash compensation is payable.
What is Loganair doing?
The Glasgow-based airline says: “The late Queen’s state funeral will take place on Monday 19 September, and as a mark of respect, we are working with our airport and service partners to ensure we have no scheduled flying during the funeral itself.
“This is to allow our staff the option of being able to watch the state funeral and for Loganair as a team to demonstrate our deep respect to Her Majesty.
“We will be in touch with customers directly who may be affected by a change in schedule.”