Heathrow, London’s (and Britain’s) main airport, has been a disgrace for as long as I’ve been around, and I first used it as a child back in the early 1970s. Terminal 5 is just the latest episode, and frankly I have to admit to a certain degree of schadenfreude about it: people who would fly for a journey like London to Edinburgh or Paris deserve what’s coming to them. But I digress.
That situation could justify changes in the management of the airports, which since privatisation in the 1980s has been in the hands of BAA. And indeed, there are suggestions flying around (pardon the pun) that the regulators may split up BAA, and force them to sell some airports. Maybe more competition would indeed be an improvement.
But right now, a change in management has only just happened! BAA has been taken over, and is under new management, who have scarcely had time to get their feet under the table. They might be embarking on a programme of doing everything right! So why the talk of splitting it up just now rather than, say, a year ago, or ten years ago? Or in a year or two’s time, if things don’t improve.
Could it have anything to do with the fact that the new owners are Spanish, and someone doesn’t like foreigners in control of such high-profile “national” assets? If we don’t want to accept a foreign owner, we shouldn’t have privatised it in the first place!
Meanwhile, I shall personally continue to do my best to avoid both Heathrow in particular and air travel in general.