Heathrow airport has shoddy service: IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has cited London's Heathrow airport for its crumbling infrastructure, shoddy services and out-of-sync security procedures, in an official communiqué.

IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani also took the British government to task for its cumbersome but useless security procedures in the unprecedented statement. Security policies are set by the British Department for Transport, and the IATA communiqué is essentially calling for Prime Minister Gordon Brown's new government to improve the state of departures, connections and arrivals for British residents, visitors and drop-ins.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone has added his voice to the rising chorus of condemnation, accusing Heathrow operator BAA of being "out of their skull". "It is typical English short-termism, lack of planning and investment," he said of what is indisputably Europe's largest airport.

In its defence, the airport operator said that it was investing more, across a variety of areas. But the Department for Transport has stuck by its safety and security procedures, despite the IATA clearly stating that its 'one carry-on bag' security measures don't make any sense at all.

Meanwhile, Brown's new minister for the city of London, Kitty Ussher, has said in a similar vein that the capital city's generally deteriorating state of affairs threatened London's position as the world's leading financial centre. She has warned that if the situation continued to drift, it would give company executives an easy excuse to take their business elsewhere.