A flight simulator apparently proved a big draw for developers as Hounslow Council courted investors at a major property conference in Cannes.
The council chose to showcase opportunities within the borough by inviting business people at MIPIM, which is advertised as the world's largest property conference, to see how it felt to land a plane at Heathrow .
The decision raised some eyebrows, with critics questioning whether the council was wavering in its opposition to a third runway - an accusation council leader Steve Curran was quick to repudiate.
But the council's regeneration director Brendon Walsh said the stunt paid off handsomely, with potential investors queuing up for a ride at the annual conference, which took place from Mach 14-17.
"We chose to have a flight simulator because we wanted something different to help us stand out to the 24,000 people milling around the conference," he told getwestlondon.
'Phenomenal level of interest'
"We had people queuing up to use it and dropping their business cards off so we think it went really well."
The council was trying to attract interest at the conference in development opportunities across the borough.
But a big focus at this year's event was the search for a business partner to help the council's commercial arm Lampton 360 build 800 homes on 10 sites owned by the local authority.
"We had a phenomenal level of interest from developers wanting to enter into a joint venture with us, and we were quickly able to determine this will work," said Mr Walsh.
He added that potential partners would now be presented with more details before being invited to bid for the opportunity.
'Not promoting Heathrow would be own goal'
Mr Walsh defended the decision to promote the borough's links with Heathrow, despite its avowed opposition to a third runway at the airport.
"We can't deny the fact we're part of the airport economy. Most of the industry, certainly in the west of the borough, is linked to the airport," he said.
"It would be a bit of an own goal if we didn't play on the big engine in our local economy."
Mr Walsh said the total cost of this year's MIPIM trip was around £100,000, all of which was funded by sponsors.
The full list of sponsors was: A2Dominion, Barratt London, Ballymore, Be:here/Prime Place, Bilfinger GVA, Blackstone, Carter Jonas, Galliard Homes, Heathrow Airport, Pick Everard, Redrow, SEGRO, United Living, University of West London.