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Heathrow “on its way to becoming a secondary hub”

17 Feb 2011 by BusinessTraveller
IATA’s CEO Giovanni Bisignani says that rising taxes and ineffective regulation in the UK have put Heathrow on course to becoming a secondary hub, and encouraged Hong Kong not to take “such a destructive approach” Bisignani was talking at the Aerospace Forum Asia in Hong Kong, where he made “a strong plea” for a third runway at Hong Kong International airport. Referring to the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, which places the UK last out of 133 countries on price competitiveness, and 121st on ticket taxes and charges, he said that “Hong Kong is much wiser than to take such a destructive approach”. Bisignani encouraged authorities in Hong Kong to take a “constructive forward looking approach to ensure sufficient capacity by moving forward with plans for the third runway”. He said that growth at Chek Lap Kok airport had been much faster than forecast, with a record breaking 2010 seeing 50.9 million passengers. “You may disagree if a third runway is needed by 2015 or 2020 or, some other date,” said Bisignani. “But as big and wonderful as this airport is, it will eventually be saturated and a third runway will be needed. And now is the time to start the process.” Bisignani said that aviation’s “centre of gravity” is shifting eastwards, with Asia Pacific’s carrier’s being the most profitable in 2010, and Asia expected to account for 30 per cent of global traffic in 2014, compared to North America’s 23 per cent. For more information visit iata.org, hongkongairport.com. Report by Mark Caswell
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