Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bob Ayling

I'm not sure if I have a clear answer to the question of whether Heathrow should expand. There is a reasonable case to be made that Heathrow itself might not be the ideal place to expand. However, I have no sympathy whatsoever for hysterical and joyless campaigns against flying itself and am well convinced that more capacity in the region is necessary. As such, the proper question is whether you have a feasible alternative in mind. Vague speculation about new airports in Kent just isn't good enough. No responsible conservative should make the same mistake Labour made over energy and road building; using green politics as an excuse for failing to confront difficult questions until a crisis is at hand.

The coalition opposing the new runway is an uncomfortable one. It is split between those wanting new airport capacity elsewhere so they do not have to face aircraft noise and those who want to inconvenience people into taking fewer flights. If the Conservatives oppose the runway they will have to, if they form a government, dissapoint one of the two groups who will either resent poor service and delays at the airport or accuse them of green heresy. Opposing the third runway without a clear alternative, set out in advance, is risky.

What really worries me is the possibility that the party is taking Bob Ayling's opinion on the matter seriously:

"The Conservatives have moved more firmly against a third runway after the former BA chief, Bob Ayling, came out against the big increase in transfer passenger[s] for causing "Heathrow hassle"."

The man responsible for the disastrous 'dirty tricks' campaign against Virgin, the ethnic tailfins which infuriated British and North American customers alike and a failed merger with American Airlines. He was then forced to resign as head of the company running Millenium Dome because of a poor performance controlling costs. He's the private sector's answer to Sir John Gieve.

1 comment:

Sun Flower said...

“Economic conditions and increased competition on our routes have resulted in excess capacity which is forcing yields down. But investors can look beyond the short-term with confidence. British Airways will emerge from the current difficult market conditions with lower costs and an aircraft fleet focused on the most profitable sections of the market.”

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