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.
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: