Tag Archives: Heathrow

Greetings to the new government

And here are five travel-related pearlers to get your gnashers into:

Volcanic ash
The new government may have come into existence with UK airspace open but today some UK travellers are suffering from disrupted journeys. The major disruption of last month was only fixed when it got everyone’s attention after a slow start with attention elsewhere: let’s hope concentration and precedent is enough to ensure everyone’s getting it as right as possible.

British Airways
Britain’s flag carrier remains beset by the threat of industrial action. BA are a great airline and all this is doing them no favours. There may be a conciliatory role to be played by a new Business Secretary.

Air Passenger Duty
The travel industry would love a reduction – or outright removal – of APD, the ‘environmental tax’ designed to curb our enthusiasm for hopping on planes everywhere. They might just get their way as one early policy suggests a per-plane tax should replace a per-passenger one. It’s not clear what this means yet, but it is similarly unlikely to result in a reduction in the number of people flying, or the number of planes in the sky. Might it result in airlines packing in more passengers? Some airlines might. others are less likely.

Heathrow Expansion
The third runway will not go ahead. Therefore, alternatives must be considered. Is the solution to the south-east’s congested skies to be found in the Thames Estuary, Madrid or in serious attempts to wean us off flying? Or do we just muddle along making do while Schiphol and Frankfurt grab passengers with better facilities, more comfort and fewer delays?

High-speed rail
Labour Transport Secretary Lord Adonis was a champion of high-speed rail and his enthusiasm for steel wheels will be much-missed under a new regime. The fate of High Speed 2 – a fast rail link from London to Birmingham and beyond – is unclear. Is the journey between first and second city so sluggish that a few extra minutes shaved off makes all the difference? Or would the money be better invested, as some commentators have suggested in track, train and station upgrades nationwide?