Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways’ owner, International Airlines Group, has warned that BA’s future with a London hub is not guaranteed.
Mr Walsh explained: “People assume that if the Government built a new estuary airport and forced the closure of Heathrow, we would move everything we do to the new hub airport. But that’s a big mistake to make. We would use it as an opportunity to review our business model.”
Heathrow employs 76,600 people and supports 114,000 jobs locally, but the Government is considering plans for a new £50bn Thames Estuary airport.
Mr Walsh added: “We are not looking to move out of Heathrow at this stage.Our acquisition of [rival airline] BMI’s slots at the airport will let us grow our presence. But we do look at whether there are opportunities at other London airports, such as Gatwick and City.” He also mentioned alternative international hubs like Istanbul.
First-quarter results show restructuring and strikes at Iberia pushed IAG to a £235m loss.