BUSINESS NEWS week, along with government policy. Ian Taylor reports

Virgin Atlantic chief makes case for Heathrow slots

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai Weiss has demanded the government transform the way capacity is allocated at an expanded Heathrow to enable Virgin to become “a second flag-carrier”. Weiss told the Airlines 2050

conference in London: “Te playing field needs to change.” He called on industry

representatives to “lobby MPs to change the rules” for allocating slots at Heathrow. Weiss told the conference: “Imagine an industry in which

Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic

the biggest player has British in its name, is a former state-owned business, has a dominant position, and that others are shut out.

“Look at the long-haul market.

Tere is a limit to the destinations most airports in the UK can serve. Heathrow has a vital role. It is why it’s crucial a third runway goes ahead.” He argued: “About one-third of

passengers at Heathrow connect. For some services at Heathrow, it is 60%. Without connecting passengers, planes would not fly economically. “Today, more than 55% of take-

off and landing slots at Heathrow are operated by a single group. One in four passengers must fly with the largest airline, with no choice. “We’re the second-largest

operator at Heathrow and we operate 4% of slots, or 7% with our partners. We face competition on 100% of our Heathrow routes.” Weiss said: “When a third

runway is built, capacity will rise by 50%. Applying the current regime in allocating slots would provide Virgin Atlantic with 10 slots and our main competitor with 80. “We have an opportunity to

transform long-haul competition. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the market. We’re advocating a correction of a market failure. But to do that we need to transform how capacity is allocated.” He insisted: “Britain requires

a second flag-carrier competing at scale, operating from the UK’s only hub airport.” Virgin Atlantic has launched a

website,, which Weiss said would “enable anyone who wants stronger competition to

lobby their MP to change the rules”. i Virgin Atlantic: The Interview, page 12

Climate ‘now tops aviation agenda’ 2.6%

Te message from climate protest group Extinction Rebellion (XR) “has got through” to aviation, say industry leaders. Iata chief economist Brian Pearce

told the Airlines 2050 conference: “Climate is now a material issue for investors. It comes up in meetings with airline managements. It’s top of the agenda for mainstream investors. We are geting pressure from all quarters.” Dale Keller, chief executive of

the Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, insisted: “Governments can’t ignore the climate debate. Te message from Extinction Rebellion has got through to the industry.” However, Keller added: “Te

public is confused about what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint and what flying contributes to that. Global aviation’s carbon emissions are less than 3% and you might say aviation is a high-value use of carbon because it is harder to decarbonise.” Simon McNamara, Iata UK and Ireland area manager, argued: “We’re

Aviation’s share of global carbon emissions now

not shirking our environmental responsibility. Te industry has done a tremendous amount to improve efficiency. What it has not done is explain that adequately to the public.” Asked whether taxation on flying should be increased, McNamara said: “Taxation does nothing for the environment. It doesn’t introduce more-efficient aircraſt or improve air traffic management. It does nothing to bring down carbon emissions.” However, Department for

Transport aviation director Dan Micklethwaite told the conference: “If you travel farther, you do get taxed more [in air passenger duty]. “We need to bring emissions

down. Aviation contributes 2.6% of global carbon emission now but by 2050 it will be the lion’s share, so we have to bring it down.” Pearce insisted: “We should

be able to decouple flying from its climate impact. [But] it’s important to make sure governments and public are aware of what the industry is doing because we could see people reducing their number of trips.” He added: “We see the industry

making progress on sustainable fuels. Te challenge now is to commercialise them. Government support will be key to that.” Virgin Atlantic chief executive Shai

Weiss called on the government to boost sustainable fuel development. British Airways chief executive Alex

Brian Pearce, Iata

Cruz ruled out rapid development in electric or hybrid aircraſt, saying: “A five-hour flight with 300 passengers and no emissions – it’s going to take a while. Te technology is developing, but electric and hybrid aircraſt at scale look like taking some time.”

24 OCTOBER 2019 79

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92