BAA chief will give up bonus

Elizabeth Fournier
BAA chief Colin Matthews will relinquish his 2010 bonus, following criticism of the operator’s handling of bad weather at Heathrow airport.

Matthews refused to confirm the amount of money involved when he announced his decision yesterday, but company accounts put his total earnings including bonus at £944,000 for last year.

Despite Heathrow’s second runway reopening yesterday, two thirds of flights using the airport are still facing delays, and Matthews admitted that the response had been insufficient. “Passengers have been hugely disrupted,” he said in a statement. “I want to focus entirely on getting them where they want to be.”

Gatwick airport, which BAA sold to Global Infrastructure Partners last year, has fared better during the recent cold weather. The operators have put this down to increased investment in snow-clearing equipment used by airports in Switzerland, with six new snowploughs ordered from Zurich in the past month.

As BAA denied that a shortage of de-icer was to blame for the delay in clearing runways, UK road officials warned that more than half of the country’s salt stocks had already been used, and that rationing could be introduced to maintain supplies.