Telegraph, following the Standard, gives Colin Matthews a good plug. But it’s not well received.

In a Telegraph article, looking just like a re-hash of the PR splurge last week in the Evening Standard, Colin Matthews of BAA gets to put his point of view about wanting a third Heathrow runway, yet again.  Colin Matthews says all the usual things he generally says, about doom, gloom etc, unless he gets another runway …. But there are a large number of comments  under the article, which appear to be hugely against the line Colin Matthews is peddling.  The commentators appear to see straight through the BAA self-interest, and attempts to confuse.  One comment says: “BAA first claim that a hub airport “is critical to the UK”, but then explain that airlines do prefer hubs over point-to-point because it keeps “their planes full”.  So the truth is that hubs are good for airlines, NOT the UK.”  Which rather sums it up.




This article is just a mouth-piece for the views of Colin Matthews, of BAA, doing what he has to do in his job – trying to make profit for his employer.

Third Heathrow runway ‘must be considered’ – says Colin Matthews

Excluding Heathrow airport from the Government’s aviation policy review is like assessing English rugby with no mention of Twickenham, according to BAA’s chief executive.

Mr Matthews will argue that a hub airport like Heathrow is critical to the UK because of the proven links between international connectivity and economic growth. 

28 May 2012  (Telegraph)

Comments157 Comments  (The comments are worth a look ! )

In his latest lobbying for a third runway at Heathrow, Colin Matthews argues that all possible solutions must be examined in any analysis of how Britain maintains a hub airport.

The Government has so far ruled out a third runway, with Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, making opposition to it a key part of the election campaign for her Putney seat.

Mr Matthews will argue that a hub airport is critical to the UK because of the proven links between international connectivity and economic growth, while claiming point-to-point airports such as Stansted are no substitute, despite their unused capacity.

“An airline based at Heathrow could sell a pair of take-off and landing slots for up to £25m, move to Stansted tomorrow and halve its landing charges as well,” Mr Matthews will say on Thursday at a seminar in London hosted by the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transportation Forum.

“The reason they don’t is because Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport – it’s the only place they can use transfer passengers to keep their planes full throughout the year, not just at peak times.”

Critics claim Mr Matthews has a vested interest because BAA is the owner of Heathrow, while it has been ordered by the Competition Commission to sell Stansted. The judgment in BAA’s latest appeal against that decision could come as early as today. BAA has already been forced to offload Gatwick airport.

Mr Matthews will argue, however, that while the Government dithers over new capacity, foreign airlines are “voting with their feet” by basing new flights outside of the UK, notably at Frankfurt, Paris’s Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam’s Schiphol airports.

“Instead of Britain taking the lead in forging new links with growing economies like China, we are handing economic growth to our competitors by being forced to turn away airlines who want to bring jobs, growth and trade to the UK,” he will say.

Ms Greening’s opposition to a third runway has its detractors within Government, with the Treasury balking at the costs of some alternatives, not least a new £50bn airport on the Thames Estuary championed by Boris Johnson, London’s mayor. Whatever the potential of a new airport, however, Mr Matthews will argue that it is perverse not to include expansion of Heathrow in any credible analysis of Britain’s options.

“A review of aviation policy that excludes Heathrow is like a review of rugby stadiums that excludes Twickenham,” he will say.




Here are just a few of the comments under the article:


  • “Third Heathrow runway must be considered” Colin, may I call you Colin? You make yourself seem such a reasonable chap, simply asking that in an unbiased fashion the idea of an additional runway is at least thought about a bit.

    Well Colin, sorry to spoil the party, the point is that it has been considered and it has been rejected. For once with politicians on all sides actually representing the views of the local people and voters. That is worth a party in itself.

    What you really mean Colin, is that the plan for another runways is considered until you get the answer that you want. You know Colin, the one that will make your company a lot of money and no doubt bring a few bonuses flying in your direction, and do absolutely nothing for the economy or anyone else.

    Perhaps I should be calling you Mr Matthews after all?


  • “BAA chief to argue that hub airport is critical to UK and growth.”

    Wot a surprise ! BAA had to divest other airports and they want additional flow to Heathrow. Hardly an objective view from BAA then.

    They seem to want to endlessly ‘consider it’ until they get what they want. It has been considered and decisions made against it. Perhaps they don’t respect decisions made by the democratically elected government of the UK?

    IMO we need to disperse flights not concentrate them in one area for simple and obvious security reasons.



  • He has a point; I mean the South East is positively starved of infrastructure investment.
    Well apart from the £10bn on the Olympics, The Jubilee line, Cross Rail and the Channel tunnnel rail link.
    Only last year we had half a mile of cycle path laid down near us.


  • This continued lobbying by / through the DT is nauseating. I have spent 4 days out of 5 last week and again this morning stuck on the western stretch of the M25 and its surrounding routes. We’ve just stuck a fourth lane on – shall we have a fifth and a sixth? There is no more room for any more traffic,Where will all the people go, where will they live and where the hell does this tit think all these extra businesses will set up when they come?

    There is no joined up thinking and this is certainly NOT about what’s good for UK plc – this is only about BAA and the blatant vested interests of those who land their planes at Heathrow. Nothing more, nothing less.


    We’ve got to get those immigrants in somehow.


  • The M25 struggles to cope with airport traffic. Three or four hour waits are not unusual. Tube connections are not useful for all travellers.
    The infrastructure can’t cope now!


  • Agreed. It’s dreadful trying to get past the damn place on the M25.

    BAA of course don’t pay the costs from their huge disruption to business using the M25.


  • These are the SELF-INTERESTED comments of a FOREIGN company, and should therefore be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.

    They are also completely contradictory:

    BAA first claim that a hub airport “is critical to the UK”, but then explain that airlines do prefer hubs over point-to-point because it keeps “their planes full”.  So the truth is that hubs are good for airlines, NOT the UK.

    Not that I am opposed to hubs, just that Heathrow is not the appropriate place to have one.  The only long-term solution is to build an airport in the Thames Estuary that can operate round the clock, all year round, and can be expanded to four runways or even more if necessary.

    Apart from solving Britain’s airport capacity problems (if such exist) it would also be the perfect infrastructure project to boost the economy and lift the UK out of recession.


  • The vested interest is strong in this article.


  • (Middlesbrough)

    Your point is correct. Expanding Heathrow does not benefit Britain. The South-East seems to get all the investment causing the South-west, Midlands and Northern regions to suffer.
    Too often stated benefits for Britain are really benefits for just five counties.