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IAG Walsh: UK Government's Airline Policy "Schizophrenic"

-- Government refusal to scrap air-passenger duty, increase capacity at Heathrow damaging competitiveness, Walsh says -- IAG chief says APD should be scrapped -- Need to access growth markets and that must be done via Heathrow, Walsh says By Marietta Cauchi Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES LONDON -(Dow Jones)- International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG.LN) Chief Executive Willie Walsh on Monday said that the U.K. government's refusal to scrap air-passenger duty and increase capacity at Heathrow was at odds with its stated intention to keep London competitive. "This is a government of contradictions--it's schizophrenic--to talk of the importance of competitive tourism and foreign investment while refusing to consider another runway at Heathrow and maintaining excessive costs," Walsh said, taking advantage of Boeing Co.'s (BA) showcasing of its 787 Dreamliner at London Heathrow to make his comments. Repeating earlier assertions that the APD is damaging to the U.K. economy and should be abandoned, Walsh said that there were continuing discussions about resolving the issue but that the government should consider all options and not exclude any on political considerations. A further runway at Heathrow, the world's busiest international passenger airport, shouldn't be ruled out, he said. "Growth markets want to fly to Heathrow and we need to make that possible to access that growth," he said. - By Marietta Cauchi, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 207 842 9241; [email protected]

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