The boss of UK airline British Airways has said he was shocked to discover that the planned third runway at Heathrow Airport will go right through his fancy headquarters (pictured).
Willie Walsh, head of the airline’s parent company International Airports Group (IAG), claimed that no formal warning of the need to demolish the £200m office in Harmondsworth had come from the airport.
To make matters worse, IAG feels it will have to shoulder part of the cost of the compulsory purchase and demolition of the complex, called Waterside, which was completed in 1998.
Through its brands British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia, IAG is responsible for around half of all flights in and out of Heathrow.
"The first I saw of it was when the Airport Commission report came out and I saw a map and I thought, that looks very close to Waterside," Walsh told newspaper The Guardian. "Then I discovered it actually went right through Waterside."
"We were never actually informed or advised by Heathrow that they intended to knock down our headquarters," he added.
A Heathrow spokesperson told the Guardian: "British Airways has been consulted on the detail of our expansion plans throughout, including options for the relocation of Waterside ahead of the submission to the Airports Commission."
Walsh was irked that, indirectly, his company could end up paying for his offices to be razed.
Properties in the path of the new runway will be compulsorily purchased at 25% over the market price, but Heathrow is expected to charge airlines more to operate to help recoup the cost of the runway expansion.
"We can’t have a situation where I end up paying for the destruction of my own head office," he said.
Image: Waterside, the headquarters of British Airways and IAG (Nick Warner/Creative Commons)