CONTINUEThis site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more.
  1. Front Page
  2. News By Topic
  3. Virgin Chief Slates Heathrow

Virgin Chief Slates Heathrow

by Jason Gorringe,, London

11 December 2007

Steve Ridgway, Virgin Atlantic's chief executive, has branded London's Heathrow Airport as a "horrible" experience for international air travellers, and has urged the UK government to press ahead with proposals to expand the airport's capacity.

In remarks made at a recent Aviation Club lunch reported by the Daily Telegraph, Ridgway said that delays at Heathrow and "poor performance" by airport operator BAA, are impacting on the UK's economic growth, and he warned that the UK's major aviation hub is facing tough competition from airports in Europe and elsewhere.

"Heathrow is a horrible experience; it is ruining air travel," he reportedly commented, adding that: "How frustrating is it for a crew who work hard on overnight flights from other parts of the world to find our passengers having to queue for two hours at immigration."

Heathrow is currently operating at 99% capacity, meaning that relatively minor problems, such as bad weather, can often escalate and cause severe delays.

Last month, the UK government published a public consultation on proposals to add capacity at Heathrow by building a third runway (still two less than Amsterdam's Schipol) and a sixth terminal, with access to the road and rail network. It is expected that this would enable the airport to handle around 700,000 flights a year - almost double its present capacity.

"Heathrow supports 170,000 jobs, billions of pounds of British exports and is our main gateway to the global economy. But for too long it has operated at nearly full capacity, with relatively minor problems causing severe delays to passengers," Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly stated on the publication of the consultation.

"If nothing changes, Heathrow's status as a world-class airport will be gradually eroded - jobs will be lost and the economy will suffer. London and the UK's nations and regions alike are reliant on the good international connections that the Heathrow hub provides," she added.

The government is facing fierce opposition from local residents and environmentalists over the Heathrow expansion plans. However, Ridgway, while aware of the environmental impact of the aviation industry, believes that doing nothing is simply not an option.

"A passenger from Scotland flying to Shanghai would fly from Amsterdam - where is the environmental benefit in that?" he asked the Aviation Club meeting.

Moreover, the economic and environmental impact of building a new airport from scratch with associated transport links "would be far greater than is being proposed at Heathrow," he argued.

To see today's news, click here.


Tax-News Reviews

Cyprus Review

A review and forecast of Cyprus's international business, legal and investment climate.

Visit Cyprus Review »

Malta Review

A review and forecast of Malta's international business, legal and investment climate.

Visit Malta Review »

Jersey Review

A review and forecast of Jersey's international business, legal and investment climate.

Visit Jersey Review »

Budget Review

A review of the latest budget news and government financial statements from around the world.

Visit Budget Review »

Stay Updated

Please enter your email address to join the mailing list. View previous newsletters.

By subscribing to our newsletter service, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

To manage your mailing list preferences, please click here »