Bots Spam Heathrow Airport with 28,577 Noise Complaint Emails

By Gerald Lynch on at

The battle over plans to expand Heathrow Airport has taken a rather unexpected turn, with the transport hub's chiefs claiming that campaigners are using automation software to spam it with complaints.

The airport's bosses noted a five-fold increase in noise complaints last year, with just 37 people alleged to have been responsible for 28,577 of the total 94,114 complaints. Just two people alone made 7,888 complaints in 2014 -- more than 10 a day.

And the strange moany spike may have gone unnoticed were it not for the clocks going back in October. It seems the automated software used by the spammers was set to send an email every time a flight took off from the airport, but Heathrow's teams noted that they were receiving whiney emails an hour before flights had even left the runway.

However, the suspicion of automated complaints only accounts for some of the increase -- it appears that noisey tests of new operations encouraged flesh-and-blood complainers to tap out more emails to Heathrow than usual last year too. [Standard]