bmi Submits Views on Heathrow to Government

bmi, the UK`s second-largest full-service airline, today submitted to the Government its final views on airport capacity expansion - and used the opportunity to reinforce its calls for new competitors to BAA at Heathrow airport.

The airline called for expansion of the nation`s most congested airport, Heathrow, through a new third runway; new operators to construct and run new facilities at Heathrow and other congested airports; and a `pay for what you get, not what you`re going to get` rule for charging for new airport facilities.

Austin Reid, chief executive officer of bmi, said:
“The case for expansion of Heathrow is overwhelming, not just to ensure we retain a vibrant and competitive airline industry but to ensure the continued economic health of UK plc.

“Heathrow`s `global hub` status has been a real factor in investment decisions by foreign - and British - companies over the last 20 years.Ê We must ensure we keep that competitive edge by developing Heathrow`s facilities to meet the new demand.
“In doing so, new airport operators should be allowed to compete with BAA.Ê BAA`s effective monopoly at the South East`s main airports has to be opened up - and new operators for the new runway and terminal at Heathrow is the most effective way to do this.

“Since we raised this proposal some weeks ago, we have heard claims by BAA that this would threaten safety and operational procedures at the airport.Ê But such approaches are well-established at other airports and this use of a safety argument is disingenuous at best - and highly cynical at worst.”

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bmi reaffirmed its commitment to support the concept of sustainable development, which takes full account of all impacts - economic, social and environmental - of new airport capacity.Ê The company said it would work with relevant parties over the coming months and years to develop environmental mitigation, compensation and performance improvement measures.

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