The boss of BA had no idea Heathrow expansion would demolish his £200m HQ

 
Lynsey Barber
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Willie Walsh was surprised to find out the exact location for Heathrow's expansion (Source: Getty)

The boss of BA Willie Walsh was left rather surprised to find that the expansion of Heathrow airport would end up demolishing his £200m headquarters, it turns out.

He may be a powerful man in the world of airlines, but Walsh revealed the firm received "no formal warning of the proposed demolition", speaking to the Guardian.

Read more: BA boss Willie Walsh pockets £6.4m as firm recovers

Here's what Walsh had to say about how he discovered that the offices, known as Waterside and located northwest of the airport on Harmondsworth Moor, were directly in the path of the proposed new runway.

"The first I saw of it was when the Airport Commission report came out and I saw a map and I thought, that looks very close to Waterside."

“Then I discovered it actually went right through Waterside.”

Already none too happy, adding insult to injury is the fact that BA will likely have to pay more to operate from the airport to cover the expansion costs, effectively wiping out the compulsory purchase of the site which will give BA a 25 per cent bump on the market price of the property.

“That compensation goes into the regulatory asset base and we end up paying 56 per cent of that. We can’t have a situation where I end up paying for the destruction of my own head office," Walsh lamented to the newspaper.

Walsh hasn't really held back on his feelings towards a third runway at Heathrow, labelling it an "outrageous vanity project" and a "rip off" among other things.

It's not the first time a high-profile person has been out of the loop, but at least it wasn't at his own hand. Former London mayor Boris Johnson was last year surprised to find that Crossrail 2 will go under his home. He was only alerted to this by an automated letter he sent out himself.

Read more: Boris learns of Crossrail impact - in letter he sent to himself

"I got a letter through my door the other day, as usual from myself. This one asked me to enter the consultation about Crossrail 2, and I made enquiries about this, and got TfL to produce the map," he said.

"It doesn't just go through my backyard, it goes absolutely under my house. They said it was 30 metres under, but it's only 20 metres, so I'm getting very apprehensive. In fact, I haven't even dared tell my wife about this wonderful thing I'm doing for our property."

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