The boss of British Airways’ parent group on Monday threatened to develop the business abroad rather than in Britain after the British government further delayed a decision on expanding airport capacity.
British Prime Minister David Cameron had promised a decision on where to expand airport capacity in southeast England by the end of the year, but last week said no decision would be taken until at least the middle of next year.
The government said it needed to assess environmental impact, but business leaders who have lobbied hard for a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport, Europe’s busiest, condemned the delay as “gutless.”
“If the government continues to dither over a new runway, then I’ll move my business elsewhere,” International Airlines Group SA (IAG) CEO Willie Walsh wrote in Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper. “We now have airlines in Dublin and Madrid, and can expand our business there, supporting the strengthening Irish and Spanish economies.”
Irish carrier Aer Lingus and Spain’s Iberia are also part of IAG.
Walsh accused the government of choosing short-term political gain over a long-term boost for British business.
While in opposition in 2009, Cameron had opposed adding a third runway to Heathrow, “no ifs, no buts.”
However, a commission on boosting British air capacity later recommended he do so.
A U-turn would be embarrassing for his government, and also poses further risks given a prominent member of his party has threatened to resign should a third runway be built.
British lawmaker Zac Goldsmith, who represents a constituency near Heathrow, is running for London mayor in elections next year, and his resignation would trigger a by-election that could turn into a referendum on Heathrow’s expansion.
“Politicians have no accountability. They’re not interested in making decisions that will benefit the country if it’s likely they’ll lose votes over it,” Walsh said.
Heathrow lost its crown as the world’s busiest airport for international passenger traffic to Dubai last year, while Turkey is planning massive airport capacity expansion in Istanbul.
Environmentalists and those living near Heathrow are fiercely opposed to its expansion, given hundreds of homes would have to be demolished and the extra traffic could mean Britain misses emissions targets.
Walsh said he did not necessarily advocate expanding Heathrow, because under current plans the projected costs are too high and the bill would have to borne by passengers.
“This is not just fighting talk — we have the practical ability to expand elsewhere,” he said.
“This means Spain and Ireland will get the economic benefits and new jobs from our expansion plans, while the UK government twiddles its thumbs and watches as the world progresses around it,” he added.
From the customer’s perspective, car rental is a straightforward business. The only uncertainty is whether the hire company will charge you for the scratch they discover when you hand back the vehicle. Hertz Global Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy protection filing on Friday last week was a reminder that today even the simplest business models are underpinned by a lot more financial complexity than meets the eye. The proximate cause of Hertz’s demise was of course the sudden collapse in bookings caused by COVID-19 travel restrictions. The company’s monthly revenue last month fell 73 percent year-on-year, a shortfall that even the most resilient
Uber Technologies Inc, Lyft Inc and Airbnb Inc have slashed thousands of jobs. Salesforce.com Inc and Visa Inc are letting employees work remotely for months; Twitter Inc and Square Inc are allowing them to do so for good. For the companies’ hometown of San Francisco, the moves are early signs of a dire blow. In a city with a long history of booms, busts and natural calamities, the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly upended nearly a decade of prosperity. While municipalities across the US are grappling with economic fallout from the virus, San Francisco stands to take a deeper hit given its high
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福)
SCATTERED: Production would be dispersed among a number of countries, which would bring an end to so-called world factories, Hon Hai chairman Young Liu said Decentralized production would be the new focus in manufacturing, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) yesterday told an online forum held by the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所). “The COVID-19 pandemic exerted a heavy impact on supply chains as well as production ... [production] would no longer be concentrated in solely one country, this is the end of what we used to call world factories,” Liu said during a panel discussion hosted by MIC director Victor Tsan (詹文男). As the US and China continue to dominate and sway international relations, the rest of the world is