US President George W Bush’s recent visit to London did not just raise the hackles of anti-war protestors – whose demonstrations in Parliament Square resulted in a 60 year-old female protestor being arrested for alleged indecent exposure, of all things . It also incurred the wrath of British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh.
Walsh did not indecently expose himself to express his displeasure, but he is reported to have written in BA’s in-house newsletter that “the decision to allow President Bush and his fleet of aircraft to fly into Heathrow rather than a military base was one that all of Heathrow’s users could have done without”, and that he was “angry that this was allowed”.
The report goes on to say that the unpopular US President’s arrival and departure at Heathrow resulted in BA having to cancel 53 short-haul flights and delay another 260 flights for more than 30 minutes – which the carrier could have done without following the chaos that surrounded the opening of Terminal 5.
The Presidential visit affected 38,000 BA passengers, which will no doubt translate into another 38,000 people who are less than pleased with President Bush (who is pictured above in a White House photo by Eric Draper alongside UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown).
Ah well, they can console themselves with the fact that a new US President will be elected this November!