1 November 2022, London Marriott Hotel County Hall
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
BAA wants a ”substantial” reform of the regulatory system to allow it to build much-needed capacity for the ”social and economic well-being of the country.”
The operator was as unhappy with the recent CAA review as the airlines ” for polar opposite reasons ” and defended itself against calls for its break-up.
Speaking at the Aviation Club, BAA commercial director Dr Duncan Garrood said: ”Wholesale reform of regulation and planning processes must better encourage the development of new runway capacity or else it will fail passengers.
”To many, the answer to the short-term problems [about service standards] is to break up BAA ” force the sale of one or more of our airports. People argue that service standards will improve in the face of more competition. Whilst we understand the apparent logic, we completely disagree ” leaving aside the fact that BAA already competes with airports across Europe, and emerging new global hubs in the Middle East, the basic break-up argument does not reflect the UK”s overwhelming need for new airport capacity.
”And perhaps it totally undermined by the fact that BAA is the only airport operator in the UK today apparently willing to invest in new runways, a fact underlined when we applied for a second runway at Stansted.
Despite its ”4.3bn Terminal 5 opening shortly, he said the real answer to Heathrow”s problems is a third runway.
”Any long-term investment plan must be financeable and it must provide sensible but not excessive returns for those investing. But under the new CAA regime we see an unprecedented reduction in our allowed return on investment [from 7.75% to 6.2% at Heathrow and 6.5% at Gatwick].
”We find that particularly surprising given the emerging consensus around the need to transform airports, but we will just get on with it.”
Garrood said it is important that the national conversation around the environment makes the distinction ”between climate change ” which will only be resolved through international political and economic agreements and the development of science ” and the local environment, which could be positively affected by local decision making.
”It is wrong to single out one industry, or in our case, one runway project, and put at risk legitimate economic gains for the wider community in deference to the more radical and more noisy campaigners.”
Finally he made reference to a Sunday Times article which suggested some collusion had taken place between BAA and the government to fix the evidence in favour of a third Heathrow runway.
”Such allegations by the anti-Heathrow expansion lobby are not new, but the simple fact remains that the BAA is not in collusion with the Department for Transport (DfT).
”It would be impossible for the DfT to assess the viability of further growth at the airport without input from the airport operator. The government has never made any secret of this and it made it clear in the 2003 White Paper that it intended to work with BAA to see whether and how growth was possible within environmental limits.”