BAA boss defends frozen fiasco

RESPONDING to the widespread criticism of its handling of the severe weather in the UK over the holiday period, BAA’s chief executive officer, Colin Matthews (right), has defended the company’s actions.

Matthews said: “New York’s major airports faced similar problems only a few days later and it took other airports a similar period of time to recover, demonstrating the severity of the winter across the US and Europe and a common set of challenges at busy international airports.

“We can always do better, and we need to be and will be better prepared, but these were circumstances that would have tested any airport managers, anywhere in the world.”

Matthews announced an external inquiry into the events and that BAA would abide by its findings.

“The inquiry will take some weeks to deliver its report, led by a team of aviation experts from parts of the world familiar with heavy snowfall. Meanwhile we are urgently reviewing the airport’s preparedness for difficult weather should it occur in the remaining months of this winter.

“My management team and I will act speedily on the conclusions and the recommendations of the enquiry.”

Commenting on Virgin’s announcement that it would hold airport fees to BAA until the inquiry findings were released, Matthews said the airline “has no legal basis for taking this action”.

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