THE boss of John Lennon Airport (JLA) has launched a fierce attack on the Government accusing it of blocking a direct air link to Heathrow Airport.
Craig Richmond, the chief executive of Peel Airports, which owns JLA, lambasted ministers for ignoring regional airports, as the company lodged its response to a consultation on future aviation policy.
In a series of stinging criticisms, Mr Richmond tore into the Department for Transport (DfT) for:
Failing to set aside ringfenced slots at Heathrow for regional airports arguing an airline would grab the chance to fly directly from JLA;
Hiking air passenger duty (APD), warning it hit airports in the North particularly hard;
Neglecting regional airports, which were mentioned just four or five times in the 98-page document;
Kicking any change of policy into the long grass, while possible Heathrow expansion was decided;
Threatening to hand too much power to small groups of local protesters to curb airports.
Mr Richmond who joined Peel within weeks of David Cameron entering Downing Street, in 2010 told the Post: I have worked in many countries, but Ive never seen aviation policy so far on the back burner.
Its disheartening to see the lack of attention when other countries recognise its importance to hi-tech industries, manufacturing and moving people around.
And this Governments attitude to regional airports is almost we will get around to you when we can. We are ignored.