Lord Puttnam has warned that Ferrovial’s ownership of seven UK airports, including Heathrow, could threaten the success of the London 2012 Olympics. The peer claims that inefficiencies in the country’s air travel system could result in “absolute disaster”.
Speaking at a private dinner, Puttnam suggested that Ferrovial, which revealed refinancing arrangements on the £10.1bn BAA takeover yesterday, was unable to even pay its debts on the deal and questioned the Spanish consortium’s ability to run the airports to a satisfactory level.
He claims that the airports, especially Gatwick and Heathrow, might perform better if split up and sold off as that would allow them to “compete with each other to be the best airport” rather than being part of “a collection of mediocre ones”.
Puttnam, chairman of digital specialist agency Profero, says London’s ability to cope with the Olympics is dependent on the “country’s arteries working properly”.
He went on to predict that in the next decade an estimated four “global cities” will emerge on the world stage as leaders in commerce, finance, culture and as “centres of excellence” but he warned that London’s obvious place as one of the four is in peril due to the county’s poor airports.