James Moore: Heathrow's bid to charge the airlines more is just increasing turbulence

Outlook. Plus: It doesn't look as if bank bonus cap is going to fit; It could be time to can those Carlsberg shares

Heathrow's bid to impose price rises of 5.9 per cent above RPI inflation on the airlines that use it comes at a rather convenient time for a Government that desperately wants to avoid making any decisions on the future of air travel in this country.

The air industry has never been one to favour polite negotiation behind closed doors when there is the possibility of a public bust-up with lots of airtime for the big personalities that are drawn to the business like moths to a candle.

Even though the proposed price rises aren't as bad as the ones the airport operator submitted in its first plan, they look high from a business that, although improvements have been made over the past five years or so, still doesn't inspire much love from its users.

This is a point which the airlines being asked to pay up won't be shy of making… ad nauseam. Which should help to divert attention away from the pedestrian progress of Sir Howard Davies's commission on whether Heathrow should be allowed to build a third runway, and perhaps a fourth. Or whether Boris Johnson should get his island in the Thames estuary.

Even if everything goes to plan, the commission is not due to report until 2015. Just in time for an election, when any unpalatable recommendation will be ignored or kicked into the long grass (again).

Tory thinkers get very frustrated when statistics are produced showing that Britain is doing well compared with continental Europe. They argue that this country should forget about Europe and concentrate on our real competitors in the "global race", such as the tiger economics of Asia.

The trouble is that the current inability to make a decision on the future of flight means we're entering that race saddled with top weight and a broken fetlock in a handicap over the big fences at Aintree.

The debate over the charges Heathrow wants to levy to fund its fancy multi-billion-pound investment programme (and to service its multi-billion-pound debt pile) is an essentially sterile one.

It doesn't matter how many gaudy new buildings you put up, or how many duty free shopping malls you unveil or how many monorail systems you envisage if the planes are stopping off in Paris, or Berlin, or flying on to Abu Dhabi before refuelling for the final leg of the journey to Asia from the US.

Heathrow in its current incarnation effectively becomes a regional airport stuck on the fringe of Europe, and the business moves elsewhere. With it moves money, to spend on Tory tax cuts or Labour's social spending, or a combination of the two, it doesn't matter much. It's still gone.

Without it, growth will be harder to come by, and our position in even the European league tables starts to look shaky.

It doesn't look as if bank bonus cap is going to fit

Talking of Europe, momentum is gaining rapidly in the direction of a cap on bankers' bonuses that will be tougher than even the new regulations enforced by the Financial Services Authority in this country.

Countries close to the UK's position (we're opposed) are rapidly falling in line with the majority because they want other parts of the EU's financial reform package. Kicking up a stink about meddling Eurocrats sticking it to our treasured financial centre won't really work in this case.

Having talked tough, and then accepted an electrified ring fence around retail banks as recommended by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, the Chancellor can hardly demand that Britain's banks be allowed carte blanche to pay up. The EU's sclerotic PR machine might actually be able to secure a few brownie points with this country's largely Eurosceptic electorate if he did. Critics are already arguing that the plans will result in bankers picking up much higher fixed salaries, denying banks the flexibility to impose cuts in wage bills by lowering variable compensation in years when performance isn't up to scratch.

Which ignores the fact that such cuts didn't appear to be imposed upon the industry's favoured sons even when things were at their worst. Even in the years directly after the financial crisis, banks were still battling to pay up while chanting the mantra of the need to retain key staff.

Perhaps the best that can be expected for the British position is that the rules won't be enforced outside the EU, thus allowing EU banks to compete with rivals in places like Asia.

Why you'd want to is debatable. Such is the competition for staff in the tigers that they can name their price. Banks are competing furiously not for business, but for people. When this sort of behaviour becomes the norm, the outcomes are usually poor, and regulators act, usually in ways that the industry doesn't find favourable.

That's why Barclays saw the light last week and pulled out of the region. But there are plenty of fools and plenty of money still playing the game.

It could be time to can those Carlsberg shares

Oh dear. Carlsberg's sales in Western Europe have taken a fall while in Russia growth has rather stalled. With all the old profit forecasts canned, and the future as murky as a pint from a bad barrel, you would think directors of the Danish drinks conglomerate might be inclined to indulge in a drop of Russia's traditional beverage rather than their own product. It looks even worse when set against Dutch rival Heineken's recent barnstorming results, fuelled by surging sales in Africa.

It's hard on poor old Carlsberg, but you do have to ask: Is it time to dump shares in the best brewer in the world? Probably.

In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
Jennifer Lawrence at the Vanity Fair Academy Awards party in February 2014
people12 undisclosed female victims are seeking $100m in damages
Arts and Entertainment
Adam Levine plays a butcher who obsessively stalks a woman in Maroon 5's 'Animals' music video
music'Animals' video 'promotes sexual violence against women'
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
voicesI like surprises - that's why I'm bringing them back to politics, writes Nigel Farage
Bear and hare woodland scene from John Lewis Christmas advert
newsRetailer breaks with tradition, selling real festive fir trees online for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Anthony Horowitz will write the next 007 novel
booksAnthony Horowitz to write new instalment in spy series for 2015
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

Kicking on: Nathaniel Clyne is relishing the challenge of the Premier League after moving from Crystal Palace
footballSurprises include a first ever call-up for one Southampton star
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
4 May 2013: The sun rises over Tower Bridge in London. Temperatures across the UK could be higher than several European holiday destinations by Monday, including parts of Italy and France (Andy Hepburn/PA)
The moon observed in visible light, topography and the GRAIL gravity gradients

...and it wasn't caused by an asteroid crash, as first thought

Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?