Former airport chair takes aim at Willie Walsh
The war of words enveloping the entire aviation industry descended further still this weekend after a former Heathrow chair and City grandee said former British Airways (BA) boss and now trade body chief Willie Walsh had “trashed a great brand and created a company that is a byword for poor service”.
Sir Nigel Rudd accused Walsh of “constant jibing at Heathrow” and said the Irishman had an “obsession” with cost-cutting in a letter to the Mail on Sunday published today.
Rudd said that at Heathrow he had been “leading unprecedented investment in critical national infrastructure” whilst Walsh’s BA “nosedived from one of the best (carriers) in the world to a laughing stock”.
The very public row between Heathrow and Walsh has stemmed from the latter’s criticism of the airport’s preparation for a busy summer season.
Walsh, who is now boss of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has described some of Heathrow’s decision making as “farcical” and last week wrote in the Mail on Sunday that the airport had a “terrible way of doing business”.
Hitting back, Rudd said in his letter: “Willie got on his soapbox… last week about airports being unprepared for the summer, but the irony is that he appears totally oblivious that this is just his cost-cutting legacy coming home to roost.”
Elsewhere BA staff called off planned strike action after the airline put together an eight per cent pay rise offer, approved by more than three quarters of unionised workers.
BA said it was “delighted” that strike action had been averted, which threatened to wreak havoc on leisure and business passengers alike.
Refuelling workers at Heathrow have also reached a pay deal with bosses at Aviation Fuel Services and have called off planned industrial action. They received a 12.5 per cent pay rise.