LAST week, the British government gave London Heathrow airport the go-ahead to expand. The decision to allow it to build a third runway had been a long time coming. It is 70 years since the area around London last saw a new one built, and Heathrow, Europe’s busiest hub, is operating at 99% capacity. But already two aviation executives have expressed their cynicism about whether a runway will be built anytime soon. Or to cost.

Willie Walsh (pictured), the boss of IAG, the parent company of British Airways (BA), by far Heathrow’s biggest tenant, kicked off proceedings. “Do I have confidence that the current team at Heathrow can do it?” he said in an interview on Friday. “No, I don’t.” 

Mr Walsh is not exactly a disinterested observer. The proposed £17.6bn ($21.4bn) expansion of Heathrow is to be financed privately; IAG fears that this will mean higher charges for BA. Even before the vote Mr Walsh, perhaps disingenuously, had come out against the building of a new runway for this reason. Last year, after the Airports Commission had…Continue reading