British Airways boss says Heathrow expansion is a ‘lost cause’
British Airways CEO Willie Walsh has said that Britain’s political class lacks the character required to push for a third runway and says Heathrow expansion is a “lost cause”.
What he really means is that while some governments in the world are prepared to use their powers to crush opposition, British politicians are accountable to voters and worry about the backlash if they foul up.
Take a look at the violent scenes in Hong Kong where people are campaigning for the right to democracy, which Britain promised to Hong Kong when it was handed back to the Chinese in 1997. The Chinese government wants to impose it’s own selected candidates for election and believes it has a right to ignore what Hong Kong residents want.
The Chinese are now buying up property in Britain and own a big chunk of Heathrow Airport Limited but do we want Chinese-style democracy?
Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, the owner of British Airways, says “Historically, politicians have not been brave enough and I don’t think they will be brave enough going forward. You need a big shift in the politics of the country.” So perhaps Willie has been watching TV news and really does look forward to seeing police beating up people who feel they have a right to protest against injustice.
It is totally unjust that British citizens who have worked throughout their lives for this country should be forced from their homes to provide profit for private companies. When those companies are owned by other countries it just adds to the anger felt by the victims of this action. If the proposed plans for Heathrow are sanctioned, no one should be surprised at the furious reaction from the people affected and from environmental activists.
According to Willie, expanding Gatwick does not have the same international attraction as expanding Heathrow: “You won’t find many airlines that say ‘God I’d love to be able to fly to Gatwick’. That’s why this isn’t a business issue, an economic argument. It’s a political argument and the politics of expanding Heathrow are significantly more difficult than the politics of expanding Gatwick.”
The argument appears to be that we should do whatever the airlines want, regardless of the consequences or cost to the British public. If Willie wants airlines to run the country he probably sees himself as Prime Minister!
It is not a sign of weakness to be reluctant to push ahead with a crazy plan to destroy historic villages, demolish the homes of thousands of people plus increase noise and pollution for many thousands more. The politicians who stand up to pressure from greedy big business are the brave ones.
Cowardly politicians who think they can hide behind Sir Howard Davies and the Airports Commission report are in for a shock.