I'm interested in people's views on solutions to the LHR
slot problem. I hope I can say that we are all in agreement that the lack of US-UK open skies is not good for competition and that competition is a good thing.
Now we all know that there is a terrible lack of slots at LHR
and that the chances of a 3rd short runway being built anytime soon are very very slim. So, what I propose is that the UK Govt (or BAA) "take back" all the slots at LHR
, that includes BA
, Virgin and BMI
and then auction the slots off to the highest bidders. Obviously the incumbents won't like this at all and claim that they "own" the slots, however it would open the airport to competition. If CO
, etc want slots they will have to bid for them like VS
. The incumbents would have another couple of years (say 2008) and then it would go into the auction. Each pair of slots could be rented for 3-5 years from BAA/UK.gov
I know that some of the most of the US carriers are in no position for a bidding match, but BA
are hardly sitting on piles of cash. If an airline thinks they can make money from a LHR
route then let them bid. (The LHR
slots already have an unofficial "trading" price of £1 million each) They will have a price that they can afford that would enable them to run a profitable service on the route. Let the market decide.
What does everyone think?