12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
The CEO of IAG Willie Walsh has attacked the UK’s main political parties for having no interest in aviation and expressed doubt that any progress will be made on airport expansion.
Speaking after IAG posted a first ever Q1 profit, Walsh renewed calls for changes to APD and expressed little sympathy for American carriers over the growth of Middle East airlines.
“We don’t have a progressive policy because we don’t have a policy,” Walsh said. “I think not having an aviation policy, given the importance of aviation to the economy, is a mistake.”
Walsh said the lack of cohesion between the three main parties on airport expansion will mean further delays on new runways being built even after the Airports Commission has delivered its recommendations to the government.
“I think you need consensus across all the political parties before you can have confidence that anything’s going to be built,” Walsh said.
“I don’t see any evidence of change in the political outlook. I still think politics will be the main stumbling block," The Times reported.
Walsh said he did not share concerns made by certain US carriers, which have objected to unfair competition from the likes of Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways.
“There are many in the airline industry who would like to pretend those airlines will somehow disappear,” said Walsh. “That’s not going to happen. We think they’re foolish - they should just get on and welcome the competition.”
Yesterday, IAG posted an operating profit of €25 million for the three-months ending March 31, compared with a loss of €150 million for the same period in 2014.
British Airways made a profit €117 million compared to a loss of €5 million last year. Iberia made a loss of €55 million, down from €111 million in 2014 and Spanish carrier Vueling’s loss was €29 million compared with a loss of €30 million in the previous year.