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“Why not wear your favourite bobble hats to get people in festive spirit?”


Heathrow is victor – but will it be enough?

Sophie Griffiths

AIRLINES, AIRPORTS and industry bodies have praised the government for ending “years of uncertainty”

with this week’s long-awaited announcement on airport expansion. But many said the decision failed

to go far enough and that a third runway at Heathrow was a short-term solution to a long-term problem. The government confirmed its

support for a third runway at Heathrow on Tuesday, although it revealed the preferred location of the runway would be consulted on in the new year. Transport secretary Chris Grayling

added that the government’s chosen scheme would be “subject to full and fair public consultation”. He insisted that expansion costs

would be paid for by the private sector, and “not by the taxpayer”. And in a nod to the UK’s regional

airports, the government said expansion at Heathrow would “support new connections to the UK’s regions as well as safeguarding existing domestic routes”. Heathrow has proposed a further

POSITIVE ATTITUDE: The ITT’s prestigious Odyssey Award was presented to Southall Travel’s managing director, Kuljinder Bahia, at last week’s 60th anniversary dinner. Bahia, who bought the business in 1997, and has grown it to a turnover of £500 million, told guests that positivity is a secret of his business success. “What makes a man or woman is when the chips are down, being able to make negativity into positivity,” he said. See photos on page 20 and at


Hays openings to ‘plug gaps’

HAYS TRAVEL is preparing to open a further four new stores in Keighley near Leeds, Fareham and Torquay, as well as another in an undisclosed “huge town” in the south by the end of the year, TTGhas learned. The move will bring the total

number of properties in Hays’ retail estate to 142 by the end of the year – 18 of which will have been opened

six new routes to Belfast International, Liverpool, Newquay, Humberside, Prestwick and Durham Tees Valley to be added after expansion by 2030. Gatwick was predictably disappointed at the news, insisting: “We do not believe this is the right answer for Britain. Gatwick has put forward a credible, financeable and deliverable plan for expansion. We look forward to studying the full reasons behind the government decision in detail.” Others in the industry condemned

the government for not going further. Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary described it as a

“piecemeal approach to runway infrastructure”, which he said was “damaging British tourism and the competitiveness of London airports”. He added that the only effective

way to solve capacity constraints would be to build three new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and that this week’s decision meant “a return to monopoly featherbedding at Heathrow, and a continuation of runway capacity constraints in the south-east that will ultimately be bad for consumer choice and fares”. Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer

said the association welcomed today’s announcement but added: “Abta takes

a long-term view on growing airport capacity. We have urged expansion at both Heathrow and Gatwick to meet the 2050 demand, rather than just 2030 capacity needs. “The case for expansion at both

airports remains clear: Heathrow is full and Gatwick operates at full capacity at peak times. Additional capacity is essential at both airports to cope with growing passenger demand and provide resilience.” Flybe called on the government to

“allow scheduled commercial flights to and from RAF Northolt to fast-track the benefits of regional connectivity”. Despite the announcement,

Heathrow and the government face a lengthy battle before the third runway becomes a reality. Last week, it was confirmed that a final announcement by the government would not be confirmed until late 2017-18, with the Conservative party split on the issue. Backbencher and former London

mayor Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith announced his resignation within hours of the decision and foreign secretary Boris Johnson said Heathrow expansion was “undeliverable”. Labour London mayor Sadiq Khan

said it was “the wrong decision for both London and the whole of Britain”. Four Tory councils, including

Heathrow has been chosen for expansion after years of deliberation

within the past 12 months. It comes as owner and managing

director John Hays confirmed the agency would also “almost certainly” open new branches in the Leeds/ Bradford area in 2017, as Hays Travel continues to expand out of its north-east heartland. Speaking onboard Royal Caribbean’s

Independence of the Seas at the Hays IG Conference, John Hays told TTG the agency chain was planning to open a number of shops to help “plug gaps” in the Yorkshire conurbation. It has eight stores in the area after launching in the region in late 2015.

prime minister Theresa May’s own constituency of Windsor and Maidenhead, said they would take legal action over the decision, insisting that current illegal levels of air pollution should rule out expansion.

Hays added that the agency was

also considering increasing its store numbers on the south coast and was “absolutely” looking to grow its homeworker ranks. “In terms of shop openings, we have pretty much got [the north-east] saturated and there aren’t major opportunities left for us in that area,” he said. “We’ve opened a few shops in

the Leeds/Bradford conurbation, so where we’ll be opening will almost certainly be within that [area], and on the south coast we’re filling in gaps.”

■Full report in next week’sTTG 27.10.2016


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