London will lose out to Frankfurt if politicians do not back a new runway at Heathrow, the boss of All Nippon Airways has warned.
Chief executive Shinichiro Ito said the carrier would look at expanding routes through Germany’s main hub rather than the UK if congestion at Heathrow is not resolved.
“Airport infrastructure is an integral part of the development of a city,” he told the Financial Times. “We would like to use Heathrow even more.”
But if Heathrow expansion was not possible, “we fly into cities such as Frankfurt. Strengthening that network would be an option,” he said.
The comments come as the Airport Commission prepares to publish its final appraisal of rival proposals to expand Heathrow and Gatwick.
Expected in the next two weeks, this will start a public consultation process before a final recommendation is made after the general election in May.
Analysts said that though ANA only had one daily service between London and Tokyo, comments from a member of the Star Alliance of 26 carriers would increase the pressure for a clear recommendation.
“Airlines made threats in the very early days but if someone is actually talking about going to a particular airport then that ups the ante,” David Bentley, of Capa aviation consultancy, told the FT.
“It is the first warning shot of what could be many others. The commission will have to take this into account.”
But Gatwick rejected Ito’s suggestion that Heathrow should be expanded.
“A new runway at Gatwick would give London two world-class airports competing vigorously with each other, delivering more choice and keeping the cost of flying and doing business low for everyone,” a spokesman said.
Sourced from Travel Weekly