Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Investment needed in Heathrow says Branson

The UK economy is in danger of falling behind European counterparts, unless further investment is made in Heathrow Airport. according to serial entrepreneur Richard Branson.

The airport’s two runways are currently operating at full capacity, and an attempt at further expansion to the site in West London was blocked by the Coalition in 2010 as it would result in huge increases in the number of planes flying over London.

However, Mr Branson, who also owns Virgin Atlantic, has told Reuters that a lack of space is preventing airlines from expanding their services further.

He said: “We can’t fly to Beijing or most of the Far Eastern or African routes in competition with British Airways and we also can’t fly to most of the emerging south American destinations.

There were 476,197 flights at Heathrow in 2011, representing 99.2 %of the airport’s limit.

Heathrow is now falling behind other rivals in Europe, including Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam to secure lucrative Middle East contracts due to growth constraints.

Branson also criticized Air Passenger Duty, calling on the Government to abolish the tax on flying,whilst also improving immigration services at UK airports.

He added: “Britain should make arriving at the airport in immigration the most magical, wonderful thing. It should be ‘welcome to Great Britain’ not ‘we suspect every single one of you of being terrorists’.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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