Heathrow’s soaring profits anger airlines


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Heathrow set itself on a warpath with airlines after posting a 22 per cent leap in nine-month profits just weeks after battling with carriers over proposals to hike landing charges at the airport.

Pre-tax profit at the London airport hit £266m, as passenger numbers rose 3.6 per cent to 54.8 million. Heathrow also said it earned £20.60 per passenger in landing fees over the period.

Earlier this month, Heathrow raged at the Civil Aviation Authority for failing to allow it an inflation-busting rise in the fees paid by airlines for using Europe’s busiest hub. It claimed the regulator’s proposals for landing charges to rise in line with inflation could hit investment at the airport.

But Heathrow’s 22.1 per cent rise in underlying earnings to £1.03bn may be seized on by airlines angry that the CAA refused to cut charges. Heathrow already has some of the highest landing charges in the world.

British Airways’ supremo Willie Walsh has even called for Colin Matthews, chief executive of Heathrow, to be sacked over landing charges.