We have a Q&A with the Lord Mayor of London coming up in our next issue. Before he spoke to CER – which, incidentally, took place in his (official?) Jaguar en route to Hong Kong airport – he shared a few thoughts with a gathering of people at the Hong Kong Club.
As a man whose job it is to talk up the City of London and its stock exchange, the Lord Mayor was obviously willing to question the stringent US listing requirements brought in under the Sarbanes-Oxley act, which have put Chinese companies off New York IPOs (“People feel sorry for the Americans because of what they have got themselves into”).
But Heathrow, London’s – erm, flagship – airport also came in for a bit of a bashing. “Heathrow Airport is negative for London in the same way that pollution is negative for Hong Kong,” the Lord Mayor observed.
As a former London resident and a current Hong Kong one, would I be willing to swap the clean, efficient and generally pleasant environment that is Hong Kong International Airport (with Airport Express thrown in, of course) for the Bermuda Triangle of baggage reclaim that is Heathrow? Even if it did mean shipping the smog back to London? Perhaps it is testament to the troubles of Heathrow that I remain undecided on that one.
However, there is one airport experience I dread even more – queuing for a taxi at Hongqiao airport in Shanghai. Imagethief wrote about this problem last month and it stuck in my head because it is such an accurate account.
My most recent hour-long stint of queuing was spent behind a man who was trying to negotiate the barrier-flanked channel with a golf bag resting length-ways across his airport luggage trolley. I hate to think what would happen if they let him behind the wheel of a car.