Massive technical error at Heathrow airport

High-wire feat needed to fix 60% of 120,000 light bulbs

The designers of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, which opened in 2008, appear to have overlooked one vital detail – how to change a light bulb safely. Around 60% of the 120,000 bulbs have blown since the terminal was unveiled, but none of them have been changed, according to an article in the Daily Mail.

The lights are 37 metres above the ground and it apparently takes a team of high-wire walkers to change them.

The newspaper quotes an email obtained by the news website Exaro. Reportedly sent to staff by Heathrow customer service chief Vicki O’Brien, it says: “As many of you will have seen recently, the departures concourse has been becoming darker than normal in the late afternoons/evenings, as well as in the early mornings. The reason for the poor light is that 60% of the downlighters have failed, and until recently Heathrow had no viable way to replace them.”

The email says that different ways to replace them have been thought up over the past five years, but all have been written off for being unsafe – until now.

“The good news is that Heathrow has now identified a safe and robust way to replace all the light bulbs, and this is high-level rope work carried out by a specialist company.”

The new high-wire act to fix the lights is expected to take about four months.

Yahoo! New Zealand

[pictured: Heathrow Terminal 5]

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