7 NOVEMBER 2011
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The excellent facilities provided by the new Marriot Renaissance at St Pancras were the backdrop for the Guild of Travel Management Companies third annual conference last week with 150 delegates.
Conservative MP Kwasi Kwarteng of the Transport Select Committee and Member for Heathrow constituency Spelthorne, said that the travel industry “failed to make the case” for a third runway at Heathrow and against Air Passenger Duty, a statement which not all delegates agreed with. He claimed the recent appointment of Justine Greening as Transport Secretary was not a deliberate snub to the industry. Greening led opposition to a third Heathrow runway.
Breaking news during the day led Chief Executive Anne Godfrey to make the following comment: “In a time when growth is the priority of all parties it is with some disappointment that the business community has received the announcement that the Labour Party is no longer supporting a third runway (at Heathrow).”
Other speakers included Paul Wait of Virgin Atlantic who warned that the mega alliances are reducing competition. Virgin flies on, fiercely independent even if Singapore Airlines is a 49% shareholder. “The growth of airline alliances and the recent spate of airline consolidation poses some challenges,” said Wait. www.gtmc.org
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