In successive years, a baggage handlers’ strike, security measures brought on by the liquid bomb plot and now the week-long Camp for Climate Change have meant that the busiest month for air travel has spelled misery for travellers, airlines and BAA.
A change in ownership to Spanish group Ferrovial also led to accusations of underinvestment and poor customer service, not least by its own clients BA and Ryanair.
Meanwhile, BAA sought ‘the mother of all injunctions’ (according to Greenpeace) against environmental protesters, but succeeded only in banning three pressure groups from a week of action starting on 14 August. This was presented variously as a ‘win’ for BAA (BBC News, 6 August) or ‘the mother of all setbacks’ (The Daily Telegraph, 7 August).
Others piling on the pressure included mayor Ken Livingstone, who called BAA’s management team ‘out of their skull’ (Telegraph, 4 August). Protesters, however, rejoiced as ‘relentless negative press coverage about Heathrow’ (Telegraph, 3 August) gave added publicity to the protest camp.