|Spoof Sunday Times headline from a few years back,BUT be careful what you wish for...|
Julian Bray Aviation Analyst writes: The Prime Minister Theresa May has delivered a body blow to those who thought years of procrastination, structured delay and downright sabotage was over as Mrs May has effectively 'fudged' a final decision on the construction of a new runway in South East England.
Fudged for at least 12 months - possibly longer - to Winter 2017/18, as she attempts to mend (or paper over) deep divisions within the Conservative party and head off the real threat of a by-election by Zak Goldsmith resigning his Richmond Park seat and standing as an Independent. but backed by his Conservative constituency association.
The whole deal after all, if not settled, could spark off a snap General Election and many more Conservative MPs hostle to Mrs May may just decide if Zac Goldsmith can do it, why can't they? The prospect of Independent Conservative MP,s popping up all over the country, is possibly a runway too far...
I will be discussing the overnight developments on BBC5Live WAKE UP TO MONEY...at 05:45am Wednesday 19th October, BBC RADIO SCOTLAND at 7:50 am, BBC LONDON at 08:15 am also on several other premier media platforms during the day...
The delay spelled out in stark detail, in a two page single spaced letter, from Number 10, effectively gives Boris Johnson and other 'flightpath MPs' in the cabinet - and possibly on the back benches - who are opposed to Heathrow expansion unbridled permission to voice their opposition but 'only for a limited period' and then the whole matter will again go for 'public consultation'.
Mrs May will lift collective responsibility on airports for a "limited period" after a decision is made, ensuring Mr Johnson will be able to voice his opposition without having to quit Cabinet over the issue.
In a letter directly to Cabinet ministers she said that under a "special derogation" ministers will be allowed to "restate views that are already a matter of longstanding public record".
But there is a caveat, ministers will not allowed to "actively" campaign against Heathrow, or publicly criticise the Government, or even the way that the decision is made.
After that Mrs May says in the letter that there will be a "full public consultation" and that is before a final decision is put to the House for a vote in the Winter of 2017/18.
Even so this final phase of this long drawn out battle will kick off next week possibly Tuesday. The Government's decision on airport capacity in the South East will be made by a Cabinet sub-committee next week, Downing Street has said.
The spokesman added that the decision would be "subject to the ministerial code in the usual way but with this limited special arrangement for a limited time".
There is always the possibility that no matter what is decided in Westminster that Gatwick will in any case (possibly with assistance from the Sovereign Wealth Fund? ) press on with a second runway which could with private finance, be completed long before the Heathrow project is fully delivered, and at no cost to the public purse.
Then we have to consider no one has addressed the elephant in the room, that is China, the expansion could well trigger an aggressive takeover round by China in order to secure prime time slots at both Heathrow and Gatwick as the traditional 'hand holding' hub model gives way to point to point travel whereby the individual air traveller puts together complex travel plans multi airline interlining tickets on their smart phones...
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aerospace & Incident Management Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com