21 OCTOBER 2019
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The absence at short-notice of transport secretary Grant Shapps (pleading “other business”) at the Airlines UK, BAR UK and IATA Aviation 2050 event last Thursday did not spoil a most interesting day. Hosted by Flight Global executive director content Max Kinsley Jones, the packed programme heard 20 senior managers make a series of varied presentations to more than 200 airline industry professionals at Westminster’s QEII Hall.
All divisions of the actual airline operating industry were covered in the final panel consisting of TUI Airways managing director Dawn Wilson, Emirates Airlines president Sir Tim Clark and newly-appointed Virgin Connect CEO Mark Anderson. (See Virgin Connect name confirmed in this issue)
When asked by BTN whether he preferred an extra slot to his current six at Heathrow to another at, say, Manchester, Clark prevaricated, saying a seventh would cause operational problems at Dubai with flows and connections. He agreed Emirates faced a problem in future when the Airbus A380s with 515 seats were replaced by 386-seat Boeing B777s and was sceptical regarding the third runway.
Heathrow and the environment dominated the proceedings; BA boss Alex Cruz leading off with a well-received review of his airline’s Flightplan Zero programme, followed by Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss reminding the audience of the VS blended fuel trial and empathising his airline’s strategy to gain much more capacity at Heathrow.
"Applying the current regime could give us as few as 10 slots and our largest competitor more than 80. Failure to act to change will simply entrench the status quo," he added.
A much fuller report by Graham Dunn of Flight Global can be found here.
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