BA stand to loose a lot from more competition on LHR-USA services. They are simply trying to protect their position.
You could not have said it more accurately. However the likes of LH, AF and KL [which all operate under open-skies, and do have to weather the us-giants unlike BA] don't really seem to suffer from this.
The problem for BA is that there are huge benefits in open-skies for them if they can increase the number of flights from their hub airport, and getting a descent hub-operation going. However since LHR is already operating at max capacity, or better the max capacity it is allowed to operate [LHR does not do simultaneous parallel approaches/departures in mixed mode], there is no gain for BA. BA simply does not have sufficient number of aircraft movements to get a nice hub operation going. Look at AF[CDG], LH[FRA], KL[AMS]. These carriers today operate 350-500 daily departures from their hub. Hubs which all have the potential to grow to 120+ movements per hour [CDG is there already, AMS will be there next year, and FRA is planning for 120 by 2007]. Where is LHR...70 movements per hour? Where will it be by 2007... 72 movements per hour?
So UK government has tried, and in fact is still trying to protect BA from competition because the government itself dramatically failed to get the proper airport-infrastructure in place to put BA in a competitive European position, compared to the likes of AF/LH/KL! The UK government has manoeuvred itself in a position that they require 19th and early 20th century outdated tactics in order to maintain BA competitive in the 21st century. Meanwhile, alliances are growing and growing, and the only looser in the end will be the UK [and possibly AA].
The worst thing that could happen to AMS/KL is closure of LHR and a new 4-6 runway airport serving London. The second worst thing would be a third parallel runway at LHR, although I don't really see this as politically acceptable given the number of protests and years of planning it took/will take to build T5. For god sake its only a terminal, to be built on a sewer dump!!!
Terminals don't bring noise and pollution, runways do...!!! I really don't see how you would be able to get another runway at LHR if it took you 10+ years to pass the planning stages for T5!
AMS being my home airport, [sarcasm on now...] I'd say come on UK government, maintain the deadlock at LHR and don't build a new airport. Please let BA suffer from this total lack of infrastructure [sarcasm now turned off...].
It will be interesting [understatement of the year] to learn how your government is going to handle the SE runway situation and Bermuda II......
Immigration officer: "What's the purpose of your visit to the USA?" Spotter: "Shooting airliners with my Canon!"