The boss of British Airways owner IAG believes the £14bn third runway at Heathrow Airport is unlikely to go ahead due to a growing backlash over the environment.
Willie Walsh said the huge project to boost capacity at Europe’s busiest air travel hub is likely to fall flat despite finally winning approval from Parliament last year.
It came as he raised concerns over how BA handled a pilot strike which caused mass cancellations last month – and offered only lukewarm support to the airline’s boss Alex Cruz.
On Heathrow expansion, Mr Walsh said: “I think it is a bigger challenge today than it was a year ago. And I can’t see it getting any easier.”
“Two years ago I would have said it was probably 60/40 that it would go ahead. I’m probably 60/40 against it going ahead at this stage. I wouldn’t rule it out completely.
“What’s very clear to us that Heathrow is incapable of developing that runway [in a way] that makes financial sense.”
Mr Walsh said that the huge costs involved, coupled with the carbon emissions from an extra 700 plans in the air every day after the new runway opens in 2026, will make it increasingly difficult to pull off.