Skip to main content

The Practical, Cheap Alternative to New Runways - and a Fast Boost for the Economy

We can easily and very quickly solve our capacity problems at Gatwick and Heathrow in order to boost our economy. But it needs government intervention and imagination.

We don't have enough runways for jumbos or immigration processing hubs to make it easy for the people we need to attract to do business here. For example, the UK has no direct flights to and from China's largest city, Guangzhou and its 40m people, let alone all the other places hoping to do business with us. Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris all have many direct flights there for the Chinese to choose from. I expect the same situation exists for most other fast growing cities in India, Vietnam, South Korea etc. The UK is stuck in the past with respect to where we make it easy to travel to and from - and look where this got Greece, Spain and Portugal (once great trading nations).

If we are serious about encouraging trading relationships with the world's richest nation (China now has over $3 trillion in reserves to spend abroad - 20 times more than the US) as well as every other growing economy, we must make it easier for them to get here, and for us to go there to sell to them. We also have to make it easier for their increasing numbers of wealthy people to holiday here. It's that simple. Make it harder, and our competitors will win (like the French selling inferior fighters to India). Would you book a connecting flight when you can fly direct? It's not rocket (or jet) science.

But allocating land for new runways does not appear to be that simple. It also takes decades to happen thanks to our planning procedures (bless them and damn them) and our 'fair' tendering processes (bless them and damn them). But one thing that won't wait for all this is competition. You can bet your last euro that our chums over the channel are making new chums far faster than us. We can't rely on history to drive the future. We have to fight for it.

So how can we quickly increase the number of flights to developing nations without building more runways? Obvious answer, by reducing the number of flights we provide to nations that cost us money rather than earn it.

Instead of allowing airlines to bid for slots that don't contribute to our export drive, the government should allocate our airspace according to export potential. Stop flying direct from our main airports to places where our money goes the wrong way (like holiday destinations - unfortunately), and free up slots to places where money can roll in.

How easy was that? We can always reach our holidays in Spain and Italy via short-haul airports with shorter runways and no capacity problems, like Southampton and Cardiff. Just don't fly there from Gatwick and Heathrow. Stop thinking about them as ways for BA and their kind to make money by flying us to where we want to go, and make them exclusive gateways to our growth markets. The British people should own our major airports, not BAA shareholders.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Phillips screws - yes I'm angry about them too

Don't get me wrong. They're a brilliant invention to assist automation and prevent screwdrivers from slipping off screw heads - damaging furniture, paintwork and fingers in the process. Interestingly they weren't invented by Mr Phillips at all, but by a John P Thompson who sold Mr P the idea after failing to commercialise it. Mr P, on the otherhand, quickly succeeded where Mr T had failed. Incredible isn't it. You don't just need a good idea, you need a great salesman and, more importantly, perfect timing to make a success out of something new. Actually, it would seem, he did two clever things (apart from buying the rights). He gave the invention to GM to trial. No-brainer #1. After it was adopted by the great GM, instead of trying to become their sole supplier of Phillips screws, he sold licenses to every other screw manufacturer in the world. A little of a lot is worth a great deal more than a lot of a little + vulnerability (watch out Apple!).

My gromble is abou…

Introducing Product Relationship Management - it's what customers want.

Most businesses these days have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems which store and process vasts amounts of information about us. They use this information to generate communications, amongst other things, which target us to buy their products and services. CRM is all about how a business relates to its customers: Past (keeping them loyal through aftersales and service), Present (helping them buy through bricks and clicks channels) and Future (prospecting).

Most businesses will at some stage have declared themselves 'customer-centric'. They will probably have drawn diagrams on whiteboards that look something like these:



But there's a problem with this whole approach of keeping the customer at the centre of your world and the focal point for everything you do.Is it what the customer wants? Of course companies who ignore their customers eventually go out of business. And those who treat their customers well, tend to thrive. But is it really in the best interests …

The Titus Trust Deceives British Parents to Brainwash their Kids

I have a son who went to a well known preparatory school (7-13) in Surrey. He came home one day clutching a leaflet for fun activity holidays that the school promoted every summer. The Titus Trust operate several camps around the UK where they organise fun outdoor activities for youngsters. Something caught my eye in the leaflet hidden in a paragraph in one of the sections describing the holidays. They used the word Christian. It was the only place in the whole leaflet that the word was used. My suspicions raised, I hunted around the leaflet for more clues and found the imprint which said something like 'A Titus Trust Charity' (the name of the camps was on the title of the leaflet). I dug deeper and found some disturbing evidence of who was behind these 'fun' camps. This is what I wrote at the time to the headmaster:
Dear Headmaster

XXXX came home the other day extremely excited about an outward bound camp next summer that he and his friends had been told about by a rep…