WE were talking about Heathrow Airport recently, and the proposals for a new third runway.
Anyway, I started reminiscing, as is my wont, about my younger days when Heathrow was known simply as London Airport. In those days, if we had been lucky enough to pull a couple of miniskirted girls, we would often drive from Reading to the Queens Building at London Airport.
This always impressed the ladies, as we bought them coffee and then climbed to the roof where we could watch infrequent planes arriving and leaving for unknown destinations. They could have been simply the Glasgow red-eye, or mail plane from Jersey for all we knew, but we would regale the dolly birds with our phony knowledge and tell of flights from Hawaii or Rio.
On one particular occasion I had been fixed up with a blind date, and we now found ourselves standing on a decidedly drafty rooftop wrapped around hot drinks.
My blind date was Finnish and suitably built for tree felling, but a nice girl. Nice as in, well, just nice, but I wasn’t absolutely convinced about the gender. At one point and in a horse whisper (yes that is spelt correctly) she suggested: “Do we haf rumpy-pump?” As a normal 23-year-old male, I was usually quite partial to a bit of R&P, but I was doubtful that I would survive the Helsinki version, so politely declined. I hate pain.
But I am straying from the point, because my abiding impression of the airport in those days was of a very quiet place indeed. If we saw more than four or five take-offs and landings during our visit, then it was a busy night.
Now here’s what I do not understand.
The need for a third runway we are told is so that we can compete with Paris Charles de Gaulle (four runways) and Amsterdam (six runways). But as they handle 10 million and 18 million fewer passengers respectively than Heathrow annually, what’s the problem? We seem to be doing alright without it.