Willie Walsh, Head of IAG, wants government to rethink their rejection of Heathrow 3rd runway
The FT reports that Willie Walsh, head of IAG, has challenged the government to review its decision not to allow a third runway at Heathrow. He wants a major hub with 4 runways eventually. BAA claims the UK could miss out on trade worth at least £14bn over the next decade because Heathrow is operating close to its maximum capacity. Andrew Haines, chief executive of the CAA, says an estuary airport with all the necessary extra new infrastructure would probably not be viable without state subsidy. If there was no subsidy, airports would need to charge much higher landing fees, in order to pay for the new airport building, and this would be opposed by airlines, and increase ticket prices. NATS is concerned that both Heathrow and an estuary airport cannot be in use at the same time, due to flight path problems.
February 29, 2012
Ministers dared to rethink on Heathrow
By Andrew Parker
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- BAA urges rethink over Heathrow runway
- Coalition split over airport policy
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IAG head questions UK’s will to solve airport crunch-FT
Mar 1, 2012
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s leadership lacks the political will to allow a third runway at Heathrow airport, the head of International Airlines Group Willie Walsh said in a newspaper interview published on Thursday.
Walsh told the Financial Times that expanding Heathrow, which serves as Britain’s main hub, with a third runway offered the quickest solution to the UK’s airport capacity crunch.
“I’ll bet you that in 2050, British Airways will be flying from a two-runway airport at Heathrow,” Walsh is quoted as saying.
“It is not that I lack ambition. It is that the people who we need to address these issues lack ambition, and lack the balls to take tough decisions in the interests of the long-term economic development of the UK.”
IAG is the owner of British Airways and Iberia.
Expansion at Heathrow, owned by Ferrovial’s BAA and operating at about 98 percent capacity, has been ruled out by Britain’s ruling Conservative party.
Walsh called on the government to reconsider their opposition to the expansion of Heathrow, which is falling further behind rival European airports in the battle for lucrative routes to emerging markets, according to a recent study.
He also said Britain needed a four-runway airport in the long-term, but acknowledged suburban Heathrow was unlikely to be the location.
Calls for a new international airport in south-east England at the Thames Estuary, often referred to as Boris Island, after its high-profile backer, London’s mayor Boris Johnson, have gathered pace in recent months.
(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Michael Urquhart)