Heathrow boss gets £151,000 rise

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The Independent Online

The boss of Heathrow, who admitted the airport was "overwhelmed" by the pre-Christmas snow, had a £151,000 pay rise in 2010, it was revealed today.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of airport operator BAA, saw his pay increase from £820,000 in 2009 to £971,000 for the year ending 2010.

BAA said he had ceased making contributions to the company's pension scheme and that equivalent cash payments had been made to him and included in the £971,000 figure.

After the chaos at Heathrow, where the bad weather led to numerous flight cancellations and Christmas getaway passengers being forced to camp overnight in terminals, Mr Matthews said he would forego his annual bonus for 2010.

This figure was believed to be in the region of £400,000 to £500,000. However, Mr Matthews still stands to receive a long-term incentive scheme bonus in 2012 if BAA meet certain performance targets.

Earlier this week, Mr Matthews told the House of Commons Transport Committee that Heathrow had planned for only 6cms (2.4in) of snow before Christmas and had got a lot more than that.

He accepted that communication with airlines could have been better after Virgin Atlantic told the committee that the first the airline had heard that a closed runway was reopening at Heathrow was when the Prime Minister announced it through the media.

Meanwhile, BAA said today that its six UK airports handled 7.1 million passengers in February 2011 - a 0.2% fall on the February 2010 figure.

Heathrow passenger numbers rose 0.5%, but Stansted was down 6.3% and Southampton airport handled 9.5% fewer passengers.

BAA's Scottish airports had a good month, with Edinburgh up 5.0%, Aberdeen up 4.9% and Glasgow up 3.9%.

BAA said: "Colin Matthews' basic salary increased by 3.6% in 2010. The numbers in the annual accounts reflect the fact that since April 2010, pension payments are paid directly to Mr Matthews and no longer to his pension scheme."

Gatwick also announced its February 2011 passenger figures today. The West Sussex airport handled 2.1 million passengers last month - a 2.3% rise on the February 2010 figure.