Willie Walsh repeats warning about BA move to Dublin

BA boss Willie Walsh says firm could focus on growing its business from Ireland rather than London unless UK government acts on new runway

 International Airlines Group (IAG) chief executive Willie Walsh, who has warned he could seek to expand the airline overseas if the Government “twiddles its thumbs” over a third runway at Heathrow. (Photograph: Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire)

International Airlines Group (IAG) chief executive Willie Walsh, who has warned he could seek to expand the airline overseas if the Government “twiddles its thumbs” over a third runway at Heathrow. (Photograph: Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire)

 

The boss of British Airways (BA) and Aer Lingus has warned he could seek to expand the airline overseas if the Government “twiddles its thumbs” over a third runway at Heathrow.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA’s parent company IAG, which also owns Iberia and Aer Lingus, said the firm could focus on growing its business from Spain or Ireland rather than London. His comments come after the Government announced a final decision on whether to build a new runway at Heathrow Airport has been put off until at least next summer.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Mr Walsh said: “We’re a small island, and this Government looks set to make us even smaller on the world stage. Our leaders bestride the world saying the UK is open for business, but their actions do not match the rhetoric. “If the Government continues to dither over a new runway, then I’ll move my business elsewhere. We now have airlines in Dublin and Madrid, and can expand our business there, supporting the strengthening Irish and Spanish economies. “This is not just fighting talk — we have the practical ability to expand elsewhere. This means Spain and Ireland will get the economic benefits and new jobs from our expansion plans, while the UK government twiddles its thumbs and watches as the world progresses around it.”

The Davies Commission concluded in July that a third runway at Heathrow was the best option — if a string of measures were put in place to deal with noise and pollution — but left open the option of expanding capacity at Gatwick instead. But last week, the Government said any decision had been put off “subject to further consideration on environmental impacts and the best possible mitigation measures” and announced further analysis work would be carried out. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin added there was a “clear” case for airport expansion “but it’s vitally important we get the decision right so that it will benefit generations to come”.

Mr Walsh has previously been vocal about the delay in decision-making and has also criticised the projected cost of the project, which is estimated to be around £18.6 billion. The Government is assessing three options for airport expansion, which also include a £13.5 billion extension to the existing northern runway at Heathrow to form the equivalent of two runways and a new runway at Gatwick Airport, costing £9.3 billion.

PA

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.