28 APRIL 2014

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Article from BTNews 28 APRIL 2014

COMMENT: Did he jump or was he pushed?

Did he jump or was he pushed? In the case of David Moyes at Manchester United it was obvious. The proprietors wanted him out. He was said to have arrived at the Club’s training ground at 04:30 last Tuesday morning and by 08:30 was gone.

Moyes did not achieve what was expected of him in the eyes of the owners. The Holy Grail, whether it be the European Championship, Premiership or FA Cup, had for this season eluded the former Rangers fan.

At Heathrow, for CEO Colin Matthews, the obvious question must be asked. Did he jump or was he pushed? Here the clues are different. Mr Matthews has announced he is going, but not for some months. He has lost the battle over airport charges which would not have pleased the investors. Even more important he seems to be on the back foot regarding the Airport Commission. Gatwick is in the ascendency with an aggressive campaign.

He did not attend the media briefing for Terminal 2, which was expertly handled by John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow Development Director. Why? Now it can be explained that Mr Holland-Kaye has more intimate knowledge of the new terminal, moving from Commercial Director only in 2012, having joined the then BAA from Taylor Woodrow in 2009. But with a project costing £2.5bn surely you put the man in overall charge on the podium.

Heathrow seems to be effectively leaderless with its Holy Grail, the decision for the new London runway, perhaps 15 months away.

Do not be alarmed by noises from Dubai that it is now the world’s busiest international airport. It is the world’s busiest transit point, something entirely different. London remains the air hub of the world and with 140m annual passengers through its six airports will remain so for many decades to come.

We will now meander through the summer months. “Davies” will make noises. Boris Johnson will consider his options. And Gatwick will press on.

But what of Heathrow? Who is in charge? Who is the leader to win the airport battle? Moyes went quickly. Ryan Giggs immediately took over the mantle, even if only for a short period. Nothing from Heathrow Holdings Ltd. The Queen opens the new T2 on 23 June. Will Prince Philip ask Mr Matthews what his next job is?

We have an interesting period ahead.

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