Heathrow boss gives up bonus payout

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Heathrow airport boss Colin Matthews has said he will not take his bonus for 2010

Under-fire Heathrow boss Colin Matthews has decided to forego his 2010 bonus following the recent chaos at the west London airport.

Mr Matthews, who is chief executive of Spanish-owned airport operator BAA, said: “I have decided to give up my bonus for the current year.

“My focus is on keeping people moving and rebuilding confidence in Heathrow.”

BAA would not say what Mr Matthews’s 2010 bonus would have amounted to, but last year his salary and bonuses totalled £944,000.

Mr Matthews, who gets a salary, an annual bonus as well as a three-year management incentive scheme dependent on financial performance, has faced mounting criticism over recent days over the inability of Heathrow – the world’s largest international airport – to cope with the snow.

Passengers desperate to get away for the Christmas break have been unable to fly, while thousands more have been stuck overseas with no flights to bring them home.

Before Mr Matthews announced his decision about his bonus, the GMB union’s Mick Rix said making the payment to the BAA boss would be “an absolute slap in the face to the thousands of people who have been stranded at Heathrow for the past three days”.

However, days of misery for travellers began to ease on Wednesday as snow-bound airports across Europe started to shift passengers. Heathrow said it hopes to fulfil two-thirds of arrivals and departures, though passengers have been told they should not expect an immediate return to normality.

Despite the less cold conditions, many rail services are delayed and some cancelled. Virgin Trains had to axe some London to Birmingham and Manchester services, while Eurostar services are being delayed by up to two hours.

On the roads, a series of accidents and heavy traffic have led to congestion on a number of major routes including the M25, the M1 through Hertfordshire and the M6.

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