Snipe - The Scoop

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Boris Johnson advisor calls Thames airport madness

A man charged with advising Boris Johnson on 'retaining London's status as one of the world's leading cities' has dismissed the plan to build a Thames Estuary airport as 'madness'.

The Chief Executive of upgrade-denying British Airways and member of Boris's Business Advisory Council Willie Walsh said today:

"The idea of Boris Island is madness."

"It's not going to work. It's a distraction to a tough decision that has to be made in relation to Heathrow airport.''

Walsh said that while he had voted for Boris to be Mayor, his idea of building an airport in the Thames Estuary would be prohibitively expensive.

The BA chief's dismissal of the Thames airport plan follows another unequivocal rejection by the leader of Kent County Council yesterday.

It also follows a full scale u-turn by Boris, in which his spokesman admitted that he would no longer consider closing Heathrow airport, just twenty four hours after saying that he would.

So with Boris's deputy saying one thing, his advisor saying another, and his press operation left desperately spinning in the middle, it is about time we found out exactly where Boris stands.

Because while I understand there will be a study and a consultation and a discussion with stakeholders, and a cup of tea with council leaders, what I don't understand is what Boris believes himself.

And while it's all very well hiring an ever-growing legion of ever-disagreeing advisors, deputies, commissioners, directors and boards, at some point Londoners are going to want to hear from the Mayor himself.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

This from the man who brought in Terminal 5 to such enormous acclaim, and who has sold our flag carrier to the americans. Why on earth would we listen to an irish citizen who is only interested in his share options?

Oh an by the way, does this anti island stuff all mean you are pro the third runway Troll? and errr,,,how much will that cost?

The Troll said...

"Why on earth would we listen to an irish citizen who is only interested in his share options?"

It's a very good question. Why don't you ask it to Boris Johnson who has just appointed him?

"Oh an by the way, does this anti island stuff all mean you are pro the third runway Troll?"

No.

Chris said...

"it is about time we found out exactly where Boris stands."

I think it depends who's asking.

Tom said...

"Oh an by the way, does this anti island stuff all mean you are pro the third runway Troll? and errr,,,how much will that cost?"

No idea what Adam thinks, but the third runway is a bad idea and Boris International is a bad idea. They're bad ideas for different reasons, however. Of course, London voted overwhelmingly against the third runway in May, whatever Mr. Walsh thinks. The idea that airport traffic will increase forever and that we can only predict and provide for the demand is as daft as the idea that road traffic will increase forever...yada...

"who has sold our flag carrier to the american"

The flag carrier that the Conservatives sold to, well, anyone. That's the point of markets, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

comment on Boris from the Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/25/1

Alex said...

In what way has anyone sold BA to the Americans? It's an independent company, listed on the London Stock Exchange, domiciled in Britain, with its aircraft in the G- registry.

Anonymous said...

I'd speculate that the 'Boris Island' proposal is intentionally unworkable.

Boris doesn't want to be seen to support a third runway at Heathrow, that would be politically foolish. He's suggesting the Kent scheme as a ridiculous political position in order to appease his anti-airport supporters - and he'll try and stick with it right up to the point where he gets 'bullied' into accepting the party line.

If the third runway gets the go ahead he can make himself out to be a hapless victim of Labour's climate-bashing policy and make enormous political headway out of the affair despite the fact that he doesn't really seem to have the passionate opposition that Livingstone did.