Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan reportedly agreed to promote a US airline in exchange for business-class seats on flights during an official visit to America.

Sadiq Khan offered to give United Airlines “recognition” while on his US trade mission in 2022, despite being known for his eco campaigning, the Telegraph reported.

City Hall has previously denied the deal which gave the airline PR rights to the trip, including displaying its logo at events and having a representative on the Mayor’s flights.

Mr Khan posted on X (formerly Twitter) before departing London in May 2022, in what appears to be an ad, about the airline operating 22 daily flights out of Heathrow alongside a picture of him with an aircraft.

He was then flown around the US on six flights with tickets worth £255 each. On his trip, he met senior politicians including Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg.

The agreement also allegedly included two economy-class flights and two ‘pre-visit’ flights for the deputy mayor.

Caroline Russell, the Green Party leader at City Hall, filed a complaint over the Mayor’s failure to declare the flights as a gift or hospitality in the register of interests.

The Mayor’s chief of staff, David Bellamy, said that he wouldn’t describe the visit as being sponsored by the airline and that it was ‘natural’ that some companies get publicity from events.

He also said that Mr Khan declared the costs in the Greater London Assembly’s audit panel per the rules.

A spokesperson for Mr Khan said: “Promoting London at home and abroad is a key part of the Mayoralty and Sadiq makes no apologies for travelling to the US last year and saving taxpayers money on the flights.

“This visit was his first international mission since the start of the pandemic and an opportunity to encourage tourism to London and showcase the capital to businesses, investors, entrepreneurs and students in the world’s largest economy.

“In order to reduce the cost of the visit, City Hall secured an agreement for a group flight package with United Airlines, where only taxes and fees were payable.

“This one-off agreement did not result in a formal partnership between the Greater London Authority and United Airlines.”

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