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Delays cost £67 for each minute the plane is on the Tarmac or stuck on the stand.

Late-running passengers are responsible for 50,000 minutes of delays a year at Terminals 1, 3 and 4, creating a bill of £3.5m.

Heathrow is rolling out a new system of smart boarding cards that it believes will put an end to the last-minute frantic search for lost passengers and could improve the punctuality of nearly half of flights.

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