BA boss: ‘I’ve given up on Heathrow third runway’

British Airways boss Willie Walsh has given up hope of a third runway at Heathrow and will put no resources into lobbying for the airport’s expansion.

He will instead look to Madrid, Amsterdam and Frankfurt as potential BA hubs.

Speaking at trade show Business Travel Market in London on Thursday, Walsh said: “I will put no time or energy into changing the government’s mind on Heathrow. The decision is wrong, but a third runway is not going to happen and I won’t waste time pursuing it.”

The new UK government revoked the previous government’s decision to build a third runway last month.

Walsh said: “I campaigned hard for a third runway, but we will adjust to the reality at Heathrow and look to the opportunities to grow with two runways and at opportunities to grow globally. Growth will continue – it will just bypass the UK. But we will not campaign for a change.”

The BA boss said last week he would look to develop Madrid as a BA hub once the planned merger with Iberia is completed – expected to be by the end of the year.

He added Amsterdam and Frankfurt to the list of potential BA hubs this week, while reaffirming the airline’s commitment to Gatwick.

Walsh said: “Gatwick is very much part of BA and we will not just maintain our presence there, but grow it. However, any future hub activity is more likely to be at Amsterdam, Frankfurt or Madrid.”

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