BA boss reacts angrily to Tory Heathrow plans

British Airways chief Willie Walsh has hit out at a plan put forward by the UK’s Conservative party to scrap plans for a third runway at London Heathrow in favour of a new high-speed rail link.

If the Tories win the next general election, says Conservative shadow secretary of state for transport Theresa Villiers, they will build a high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds instead of providing congested Heathrow with a third runway.

Walsh’s reaction includes the following gems: “The latest idea that a rail link from Leeds and Manchester to Heathrow would be an adequate substitute for a third runway beggars belief”, and “The Conservatives may have an election win. But they must not forget that if they are successful, they will have a country to govern.”

Being a northern lass who lives in London, I’m all for high-speed rail links to my homeland (although my vote would be for one that went to the north east rather than the north west!). However, I can’t really see what this has to do with a third runway at Heathrow. Any thoughts?

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3 Responses to BA boss reacts angrily to Tory Heathrow plans

  1. Joseph 1 October, 2008 at 6:10 pm #

    All the other hubs in Europe have plenty of expansion potential…. CDG, AMS, MUC, FRA…. LHR is choked with traffic and has reached capacity….

    If UK Inc. wants to compete with other European countries, it must provide room for growth in its world hub… LHR… otherwise passengers will vote with their feet and use other hubs.

    It’s a no-brainer, really

  2. Marc Cornelius 2 October, 2008 at 8:11 am #

    Willie Walsh makes the point exactly. It is one thing to focus on changing perceptions of your party while you are running for office, but quite another to properly govern and ensure that Britain can continue to punch above its weight internationally. This policy stance smacks of small town politics, not the global view that you would expect Cameron and Co to be capable of. It looks naive, which is dangerous for them. As so much of their message is that Labour turned out to be all spin and haven’t delivered what they promised, the Conservatives need to think very carefully about the policy U-turns they would effectively commit themselves to once in office.

  3. ragavendra 18 October, 2008 at 8:07 pm #

    though he deserve to be angry for that, we have to see the public interest and see how much more the rail route will be useful than the runway .

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