On Wednesday, London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) paid tribute to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II by temporarily grounding an unspecified number of flights between 1:50 p.m and 3:40 p.m.
To coincide with the transporting of the queen’s coffin between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Hall, where it will lie in public view for four days before Monday’s state funeral, Heathrow leaders decided to alter the flight roster within a window of one hour and 50 minutes to ensure silence over central London during the procession.
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“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,” read a statement by the airport.
Queen Elizabeth II waves as she enters the plane at Slovenia’s Ljubljana Airport in October 2008. HRVOJE POLAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
“Some flights between 1:50 p.m.-3:40 p.m. local time Wednesday, September 14th will be disrupted to ensure silence over central London as the ceremonial procession moves from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. Passengers will be notified by their airlines directly of any changes to flights.”
Apologizing for the disruption, Heathrow also warned of disruption on Monday, when the queen will be laid to rest:
“We anticipate further changes to the Heathrow operation on Monday, September 19, when Her Majesty’s funeral is due to take place and will communicate those in more detail over coming days. We apologize for the disruption these changes cause, as we work to limit the impact on the upcoming events.”
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However, the biggest obstacle for passengers aiming to get to and from Heathrow on Monday will be local road closures up to the time of the queen’s funeral.
“The procession of Her Majesty the Queen’s Coffin to St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, will take place on Mon 19, impacting local roads around Heathrow,” the statement read. “We recommend passengers consider alternative airport routes such as the Piccadilly, Elizabeth Lines, or Heathrow Express.”
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrive in Kuwait in 1979. TIM GRAHAM PHOTO LIBRARY/GETTY IMAGES
It also comes after United Kingdom officials warned foreign dignitaries traveling to the queen’s funeral that Heathrow won’t receive private jets. Due to security concerns, VIPs are asked to arrive on commercial airlines and refrain from using helicopters to keep air traffic at a minimum across the capital.
Featured photo by BrasilNut1/Getty Images.