Belfast Telegraph

BA chief slams the UK over its air policy

By Peter Woodman

The boss of BA's parent company has accused the Government of "flying blind on aviation" with "no aviation policy to speak of", International Airlines Group (IAG) chief executive Willie Walsh said.

Britain was facing the prospect of losing out on direct air links to world growth countries "without boldness, courage or clarity", he told the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference in London.

Mr Walsh said while there might be no planes in the sky, there was "plenty of pie in the sky", and that the possible solving of the problem of no expansion at Heathrow Airport by having a so-called "Heathwick" train link between Heathrow and Gatwick was "as absurd as its name".

Mr Walsh praised London Mayor Boris Johnson for "thinking big" with his plan for a Thames Estuary airport. But Mr Walsh said it was "an idea whose time never seems to come".

He said the air passenger duty (APD) had cost around 25,000 jobs and was "deterring people from visiting the UK".

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