New transport secretary Philip Hammond has slammed Heathrow’s queues, lost luggage and delays – and revealed radical plans to get rid of them.

In an interview with the Evening Standard, Hammond said: “Historically, Heathrow has been something of a joke, outweighed by its excellent connections.

“We have to aspire to having an airport with two runways which is a world-class airport; it’s a big challenge.”

His plan includes cash rewards for operators who reduce queues in areas such as security and car parking.

Hammond expects BAA to welcome the changes because of the system of rewarding improvements already in operation at Terminals 2 and 5.

“It means we pay the operator more when he makes the queues shorter,” said Hammond.

“At the moment it does not work like that. The airport economic regulation model is hopelessly out of date; it is mired in 1970s thinking.”

Hammond also revealed plans for more variable speed limits, ruled out road-charging and pledged not to cut the fund to fix potholes.