British Airways will consider cutting Heathrow flights if the proposed fee increases are implemented, the boss of the airline’s parent company said.
Luis Gallego, managing director of IAG, said West London airport charges are already among the highest in the world and are becoming “more and more expensive”.
Currently, the airport can charge up to £ 22 per passenger for the cost of operating terminals, runways, baggage systems and security.
But in October, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced a plan to raise the cap on the average airport charge per passenger to between £ 24.50 and £ 34.40.
Mr Gallego said Heathrow gives Britain’s aviation sector a “major advantage”, but warned that “we have to attract demand to remain competitive”.
Meanwhile, Heathrow has defended its plans, comparing itself to airports’ ‘Waitrose’, saying the fee hike would allow it to invest in the passenger experience.
BA will consider cutting down on Heathrow flights if increased fees are applied, the boss of the airline’s parent company said, adding that they are already among the highest in the world
Mr Gallego told the Airlines 2021 conference in Westminster: “The reality is that over 40% of people who use Heathrow are connecting passengers.
“They only transit to other destinations and could easily go through other more competitive hubs.
“The hiking fees won’t help. It will not attract demand – it will have the opposite effect.
“If the increase in landing fees continues, I know that IAG will not be the only one to reconsider the use of Heathrow by our airlines. “
Speaking at the same event, Tim Alderslade, managing director of the Airlines UK trade body, warned that Heathrow’s level of fees threatened the viability of its expansion plan.
He said: “Their inability to control their charges will result in the death of runway three. “
Heathrow (pictured) has defended the plans, saying the higher fees will allow the airport to make ‘key investments’ over five years that will protect the passenger service it provides.
A Heathrow spokeswoman said: ‘Passengers know when they get a rough deal.
A £ 10-15 increase in airport charges doesn’t compare to an increase in economy class tickets to the US to over £ 2,000 this Christmas, which some airlines are doing.
It is true that Heathrow is offering a higher pandemic price increase than mainland airports, but we are neither state-owned nor received billions in state aid during the crisis – we fully count. on private investments.
“Heathrow passengers want a reliable and quality experience.
“The higher charge will allow us to make key investments over the next five years to protect passenger service.
“Just like Aldi offers great food, many Brits are always very happy to shop at Waitrose and appreciate the value they get. “
According to the CAA’s proposals, Heathrow’s exact fee will depend on factors such as passenger demand and business income, with higher prices if the airport continues to struggle in these areas.
The range is expected to come into effect from summer 2022, with a provisional cap of £ 30 introduced on January 1.
Charges are paid by airlines but are usually passed on to passengers in air fares.
Heathrow had requested that the cap vary from £ 32 to £ 43 for the five-year period covered by the consultation.
The airport said last month that its losses from the Covid-19 pandemic reached £ 3.4 billion.
Passenger numbers in October were down 56% from pre-pandemic levels.