A major new report, published today by AirportWatch (2), reveals the harsh reality behind the responsible and green image that BAA tries to cultivate. The launch of the report coincides with an international aviation conference BAA is hosting in London (3) and with the release of the annual results from Ferrovial, the Spanish company rumoured to be considering a takeover bid for BAA (4).
Note for Scottish media (1)
The report compares the image BAA tries to present at each of its seven UK airports with the actual effect its expansion plans (5) will have on the residents and the local environment. The report also exposes the very close links which exist between BAA and the Government. And it is critical of BAA’s cavalier attitude towards climate change, accusing the company of “bestriding the international stage portraying itself as a leader in the fight against climate change, while being fiercely resistant to any charges or taxes that would curb its activities (6)”.
The report concludes that BAA is cynically using the language of ecology, sustainability and community concern to sell and cover up its ‘brutal’ expansion plans. It argues that “corporate responsibility is a down pillow strapped to the front of a BAA bulldozer.”
John Stewart, a spokesman for AirportWatch and the Chair of HACAN ClearSkies, the Heathrow residents’ group, said, “This report is a devastating indictment of BAA. It exposes the way BAA uses every trick in the book to sell its expansion plans.”
Notes for Editors:
(1). John Stewart and Susan Dye — the Chair and Co-ordinator of AirportWatch – will be in Aberdeen on February 28th (to attend a meeting organised by the local campaign concerned about the expansion of Aberdeen Airport) and will be visiting campaigners in Edinburgh on March 1st.
(2). AirportWatch is the umbrella organisation which brings together both community and national organisations concerned about airport expansion.
(3). BAA is hosting the ACI Europe (Airports Council International) Airport Trading Conference in the Lancaster Hotel, London from 27th Feb to 1st March. It is Europe’s largest airport retail conference and exhibition of 2006. On 28th February an Adjournment Debate, called by John Denham MP, about the proposed expansion of Southampton Airport will take place in the House of Commons.
(4). This report was written before the rumours circulated of Ferrovial’s possible bid for BAA and it should not be read as comment on that bid.
(5). BAA is planning for new runways at Stansted, Heathrow, Edinburgh and possibly Gatwick and Glasgow, as well as an increase in flights at Southampton and Aberdeen, where, last year, it introduced night flights.
(6). Aviation is the fastest-growing contributor to human-induced climate change.
For further information contact John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650 (mobile only on 28th Feb and 1st March); Almuth Ernsting, Aberdeen, 01224 324797.