[Telegraph] Foreign airlines are “voting with their feet” and building networks outside of the UK due to the Government’s paralysis on aviation policy, ministers will be warned on Wednesday.
BAA boss Colin Matthews will unveil new research at a conference in London, showing 53pc of airlines are increasing their flights out of other countries due to the severe capacity restraints at Heathrow.
The airports boss will renew his warning that the UK is losing out on vital investment and jobs due to the Government’s lack of support for expanding capacity at Britain’s only hub airport.
A survey by the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK – an organisation that represents 84 global airlines – shows that 86pc would introduce more flights to the UK if a greater number of take-off and landing slots were made available at Heathrow.
Publication of the Government’s much-anticipated aviation White Paper, due by the end of March, has been delayed until the summer, frustrating airline and airport bosses who warn ministers need to urgently address the crippling “capacity crunch” in the South East of England.
Speaking at the Transport Times conference in London, Mr Matthews will say: “These figures show that it is a mistake to believe that flights displaced from Heathrow will automatically fly to Stansted, Gatwick or Birmingham instead.
“The message I hear from airlines is clear: if there’s no room at Heathrow then flights will move out of the UK altogether.
“Instead of Britain taking the lead in forging new links with growing economies like China, we are handing economic growth to our competitors by turning away airlines who want to bring jobs, growth and trade to the UK.”
By Nathalie Thomas
18 Apr 2012