In the news ... BAA

Airport operator BAA is reportedly putting on hold its controversial plans to build a third runway at Heathrow.

Controversy: protests against 3rd Heathrow runway
Controversy: protests against 3rd Heathrow runway

The firm, owned by Ferrovial, will reportedly not submit a planning application for the project before the next general election in light of Conservative opposition. BAA will not sign contracts before the election to 'bounce' a future Conservative government into going along with the expansion and will not fight for the third runway under a Tory administration. In response British Airways said it would have no choice but to expand overseas - notably Madrid.

The reaction?

The Times said that BAA had 'bowed to opposition' over the third runway, although publicly the airport operator is still urging the Tories not to 'close the door' on expansion plans. Edward Lister, leader of Wandsworth Council and spokesman for the 2M Group opposed to the runway, said it was a 'spectacular result for the campaign' and 'the third runway will never happen and they know it.'

Who are the PR players?

Tom Kelly, Tony Blair's former spokesman, is BAA's comms director and the firm uses Finsbury for corporate, financial and public affairs work.

What happens next?

If the Heathrow expansion were scrapped, it could only be seen as a huge blow to BAA and the future of Heathrow as a European hub. The airport operator is facing having to sell Gatwick - which could go through shortly - and Stansted. A Conservative government could well back London airport expansion in some form, but it looks unlikely this would benefit a BAA-owned airport.

220,000 - Number of extra flights per year it is claimed the third runway would bring.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.