Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways,
has called for faster progress on plans to increase runway capacity at Heathrow airport.
He urged the
U.K. Government to set out a step-by-step timetable for the introduction of mixed mode operations and a short third runway, with
clear deadlines for the necessary preparatory work by airport owner BAA and the Civil Aviation Authority.
Mr Walsh said the recent Stern report on climate change had made clear that action to tackle global warming could go hand-in-hand with
continued economic growth.
He called on the Government to lay down a framework for progress at that would lead to mixed mode take-offs and landings by 2009 and a
third runway opening in 2015.
The timetable would involve a public consultation early next year, followed in 2008 by the CAA beginning work on airspace redesigns and
BAA submitting its first planning application.
He warned that failure to expand the UK's national hub would lead to worsening congestion, longer delays, fewer routes served, lower
economic prospects and businesses relocating to countries with better air links.
Heathrow had already slipped to fifth place among Europe's main hubs, and would struggle to stay in the top ten without more runway
Allowing more flights at Heathrow would involve an increase in carbon emissions that would be easily offset by reductions achieved
through emissions trading, more fuel efficient aircraft and improved air traffic routings.
In a lecture to the Royal Aeronautical Society, Mr Walsh
said, “In tackling climate change, what matters is reducing overall emissions
around the world - not the emissions of one particular industry or one particular place. Emissions of CO2 in Hounslow have the same
effect as emissions of CO2 in Hyderabad.”
continued, “This industry owes it to future generations to play its full part in reducing the world's emissions. It also owes to future
generations the ability to use air travel as a critical component of the living standards and opportunities that people over the last
half-century have enjoyed as a right.”
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