Willie Walsh knows there will be no Heathrow 3rd runway. He is against a Thames hub, or a new runway at Gatwick or Stansted.
Speaking at the Business Travel Show in London, Willie Walsh said the government’s strategy to increase airport capacity in the south east would fail. He said the Airports Commission would have little impact, and also that there will not be a third runway at Heathrow. He is planning his future business strategy without one, content to have more slots at Heathrow, so other airlines there cannot get them. He is against a new runway at Gatwick or at Stansted, and says BA would not pay anything towards either. “I am not going to spend one penny on new runways at Stansted or Gatwick.” He is also against a new Thames estuary hub airport. “Building a new hub airport would be “economic suicide” as it would never be able to secure commercial funding and the charges to airlines were likely to be “excessive” to pay for the project.” You can see why Simon Burns told the aviation industry to find some agreement among itself, on what it wants. They are truly divided. Willie Walsh is not interested in any concept of “benefit to UK plc” but what benefits BA: getting as many Heathrow slots as possible.
BTS 2013: Walsh hits out at government on hub airport
The government’s strategy for increasing airport capacity in the south-east is destined to fail, according to IAG boss Willie Walsh.
Walsh poured cold water on the likely impact of the recently-formed Davies Commission, which has just started looking at options for increasing capacity, during the IAG chief executive’s opening speech at the Business Travel Show (BTS) in London today (February 5).
“My own view is that we are not going anywhere with this,” said Walsh. “British Airways has planned its business on the basis that there will be no third runway at Heathrow. In 50 years time I expect that BA will still be operating from a two runway airport at Heathrow.”
Walsh added that even though there was an “overwhelming need for more capacity” – a solution was not likely to be found without cross-party support.
He added that there was also “no demand” from airlines for new runways at either Stansted or Gatwick.
“I have heard Gatwick talking about a second runway but that is assuming that airlines are willing to pay for it,” Walsh said. “I am not going to spend one penny on new runways at Stansted or Gatwick.”
He added that while BA had managed to address its short-term lack of capacity at Heathrow through its purchase last year of Bmi, there were other airlines who were unable to add routes to fast-growing economies in the Far East and Latin America from Heathrow.
Walsh said that building a new hub airport would be “economic suicide” as it would never be able to secure commercial funding and the charges to airlines were likely to be “excessive” to pay for the project.
“This is the shocking situation that we find ourselves and it’s clearly having an impact on the ability of the UK to compete on the global stage,” he added.
Walsh also used his opening address to declare his confidence in the Boeing Dreamliner, which remains grounded due to safety fears over its onboard batteries.
BA is due to receive its first B787 later this year as well as its first superjumbo A380s from Airbus.
“The Dreamliner is hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons at the moment,” he said. “But I’m confident that this aircraft will be a great success. We are fully supportive of Boeing and the aviation authorities’ efforts to resolve the current technical issues and the aircraft back into the skies.”
Transport Minister, Simon Burns, tells aviation industry to agree among itself on airport capacity
Date added: February 6, 2013
The transport minister has told the aviation industry it must reach “consensus” before the debate on aviation capacity can move forward. Simon Burns was speaking at the annual British Air Transport Association (BATA) dinner in London, where he said the aviation debate needed agreement from within the industry itself. His words were: “Consensus between politicians, across communities and yes…even within the aviation industry itself.” He said: “Progress is being squeezed between the rock of local issues and the hard place of national interests.” He said we all need to be part of the process, and “Communities and companies, politicians and policy-makers, economists and environmentalists…..all sides of the debate, making their case but listening to and seeking to understand the arguments of others as well.” Also “All sides in this debate need to approach the issue with fresh eyes.”