THE head of a group fighting the threat of Heathrow Airport expansion has urged BAA not to dismiss the findings of a report into its monopoly on air transport.
HACAN chairman John Stewart has responded to the words of BAA chief executive Colin Matthews, who is upset with the recommendation by the Competition Commission (CC).
It feels BAA should sell at least three of its seven airports, including two from Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and has blamed problems with poor cus
tomer service and delays on the fact the Spanish-owned corporation is too dominant in the market.
Mr Matthews responded by suggesting the way to improve the problems at Heathrow is for the Government to approve a third runway, and said the CC's report was 'creating uncertainty, delay and confusion at exactly the wrong time.'
Mr Stewart said: "The reason Heathrow has so many problems is because it is more or less at full capacity, but there is another way to deal with that rather than simply expanding.
"Even Bob Ayling (the former chief executive of British Airways) recognises now that the answer is to reduce the number of flights using the airport.
"This creates some much-needed space and, in the event of an emergency, the airport can avoid the problems it has experienced in the past."
Asked wether he thought Heathrow should be one of the airports sold - a suggestion already dismissed by BAA - Mr Stewart replied: "I do not think that would solve anything. We are used to dealing with BAA now, and no matter who owned it we would still expect to be fighting this issue of no more expansion."
Mr Matthews said the timing of the sale recommendation was poor. "By calling not just for a fundamental restructure of BAA but also for a review
of the Government's Air Transport White Paper, the Commission risks delaying delivery of new runways and making better customer service less, not more, likely," he said.
"We will be seeking urgent clarification from the Government of how it believes this report's findings can be reconciled with the air transport policy it established in 2003 and its current review of economic regulation."