Willie Walsh's Gamble

Articles, LondonUnlockedEditorComment

An excellent piece of reporting from Jay Newton-Small in Time magazine:

"...suddenly, the government announced that it would reopen all U.K. airports at 10 p.m. GMT. What, many in Britain asked, just happened?

"The fact that mere minutes after 10 p.m. there were already flights touching down at Heathrow Airport should have been a clue. On Tuesday morning, British Airways CEO Willie Walsh, reportedly infuriated that the government had given German carrier Lufthansa the right to fly over U.K. airspace as long as the planes cleared 20,000 feet — their vapor trails tauntingly visible to those on the ground — quietly ordered more than two dozen long-haul flights to head for London. Airplane enthusiasts remarked online early Tuesday evening at the mounting number of British Airways aircraft that could be seen on tracking websites circling the fringe of U.K. airspace. Walsh, British media outlets later speculated, had been playing chicken with the government, daring it to divert the jumbo jets crammed with hundreds of weary travelers, many of whom had been trying to get home for nearly a week."

Please visit the site and read the rest.