Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Willie Walsh's Promises Are Nothing Unique

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Willie Walsh's Promises Are Nothing Unique

Article excerpt

ANY MP who takes the Tube to work emerges at Westminster station blanketed in ads by Heathrow owner BAA. They declare "nothing grows without routes" and " no island can afford to be an island" -- warning, after the decision not to allow a third runway at Heathrow, that London could be cut off from emerging markets and growth as a result.

That's the line British Airways, too, takes about its agreement to buy rival airline bmi today. Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA parent IAG, plans to use some of bmi's short-haul slots to expand BA's long-haul network; that, he claims, would be "pro-consumer, pro-jobs, and pro the UK economy."

It's part of BA's early push to secure backing from competition regulators, claiming Londoners will have more choice with an increased number of direct routes to more destinations in Asia. Unsurprisingly, rival airlines aren't convinced. Virgin claims consumers will lose out if BA owns 53% of Heathrow's closely coveted slots. …

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