British Airways has given up hope of a third runway ever being built at Heathrow after proposals was cancelled by the Coalition government, according to Willie Walsh, chief executive of parent company International Airlines Group.
The airline, which formed IAG when it merged with Iberia, is looking for alternatives to expand elsewhere, with the Spanish carrier’s Madrid hub the top of its list of targets.
Walsh, speaking at a CEO Summit run by The Times newspaper, said BA had concluded that the construction of a third runway at Heathrow was "dead". The company was now looking at space in airports such as Madrid.
“We will access growth outside of the UK,” he said. “Our merger with Iberia has given IAG scope to grow at Madrid-Barajas, which has four runways and unused capacity of 20,” a BA spokesman said.
“There are many routeings from southern Europe and Africa to North America which are shorter via Madrid than via Heathrow, and we will seek to exploit them.”
Speaking at the recent ITT conference in Venice former Labour transport minister Lord Adonis admitted the previous government blundered over the third runway issue allowing the Conservatives to play politics.
He said the problem of airport capacity in the south east of England would have to be addressed at some time and urged the industry to put its case to government after the next general election.
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