Heathrow’s chief executive was accused of talking “utter nonsense” after saying Richmond no longer opposed expansion plans at the airport.
In an interview for thisismoney.co.uk – a subsidiary of the Daily Mail newspaper, John Holland-Kaye, the Heathrow CEO, said historically the five closest boroughs opposed their proposals, but now all were neutral or supportive, with only Hillingdon in opposition.
But Lord True, leader of Richmond Council, disputed his claims and said opposition to expansion was stronger than ever in west London boroughs.
Lord True said: “Mr Holland Kaye is talking utter nonsense. When he claims councils near Heathrow are either in favour or neutral about his expansion, it is as if Caesar were claiming Gaul would welcome his legions. Sheer fantasy.
“Richmond remains implacably opposed to gifting a bigger Heathrow to its wealthy foreign owners at the expense of ordinary Londoners – and we and Hillingdon are certainly not alone. Mr Holland Kaye, wake up.
“Let us hope his dream of inflicting hundreds of thousands more flights on and over Londoners stays equally in the realms of fantasy – it would be a permanent nightmare for west London.”
Heathrow CEO “talking utter nonsense”
In the interview Mr Holland-Kaye made a number of wrong and bizarre comments, including:
- Gatwick airport is only good for holidays
- only Hillingdon opposes our plans now
- There are things we can’t control – like transport
Response from Wandsworth
The leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia, also issued a strong reply to the bizarre remarks by Mr Holland-Kaye.
He said: “Councils surrounding Heathrow and across London are resolutely opposed to expansion and that is not going to change.
“This airport tells us it can fly an additional 550 planes over our homes every day… and it will be quieter. Councils don’t believe them, our residents certainly don’t believe them and nor do our MPs or the Civil Aviation Authority.
“Heathrow should be honest about the impacts on local communities but instead they have manufactured the Back Heathrow ‘community campaign’ which is quite clearly a corporately funded public relations exercise. They cross the line time and time again. If any future Government was to support this toxic project it would have to sacrifice its credibility and take on a colossal mass of opposition.”
Response from Windsor
Windsor councillor and chairman of the Royal Borough’s Aviation Forum:
“If the expansion of Heathrow Airport is given the go ahead, it will destroy Windsor and the reason why people want to come here. It will affect the ability to hold state functions at Windsor Castle and the north-western option will affect Eton….It would see an increased level of noise for our residents and will affect our world heritage sights, which the commission have seemed to overlook.” The Royal Borough of Windsor are now drafting a submission to the Airports Commission. Another councillor said: “The Airports Commission’s paper is one of the biggest things the borough has had to respond to and the implications are enormous.”
Another councillor commented that the need for up to 70,800 new homes, for a 3rd runway, would created turmoil and require highly valued green belt land.
Response from Gatwick
Gatwick Airport CEO Stewart Wingate said:
“It is one thing to patronise your competition. It is another to patronise the majority of your own passengers. We would respectfully remind Mr Holland-Kaye that 70% per cent of travellers use Heathrow for leisure and one in five passengers fly from Gatwick for business.
Gatwick is changing fast under new ownership and aviation is changing fast with new technology. We believe that the UK’s interests are best served by a competitive network of airports rather than building one mega hub.”
Latest in series of dodgy stuff from Heathrow
Heathrow had a pretty bad 2014 on the expansion front.
- It was revealed that Heathrow funds a lobbying outfit, Back Heathrow, that pretends to be independent of the airport. Following a huge outcry about the nonsense claims made by Back Heathrow and the revelation of the funding by Heathrow the lobby group have disappeared (for now anyway).
- Mr Holland-Kaye (again) admitted to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Heathrow and the Wider Economy that the airport would not decline if expansion did not go ahead, ridiculing Heathrow’s claims (via its lobbying group) that it would become just a feeder for Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt.
- The cost of building a third runway was shown to be massively understated, by up to UK 4 Billion, meaning higher charges and fares.
- Public funding for a Heathrow third runway transport costs were revealed as UK 2 billion (previously well hidden).
- Heathrow had to cut short trials of new flight paths due to overwhelming public objections due to increased noise.
Mr Holland-Kaye has been involved in aviation since May 2009 when he joined Heathrow.
Before that worked for various companies including a brewery and a house builder.
Mr Holland-Kaye is obviously a very talented businessman and can be persuasive and articulate. On this occasion Mr Holland-Kaye, has been very persuasive and articulate against Heathrow and himself.
Groups fighting Heathrow flight path changes & expansion
Daily Mail article (proudly displayed by Heathrow)
Thisismoney.co.uk (original article)