Airlines fly into a rage as Heathrow warns charges must climb steeply

 

Britain’s leading long-haul airlines have responded furiously to Heathrow airport’s plan to increase charges by more than three times the rate of inflation.

The owners of Europe’s busiest airport have revealed a £3bn investment plan for 2014-19 – but say that fees must soar to pay for the new facilities.

Charges for Heathrow are set every five years by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). They are assessed on a range of estimates including the “regulated asset base” – broadly, the value of the infrastructure – and the predicted number of passengers.

If Heathrow’s figures are accepted by the CAA, the average cost per passenger for the airport from April 2014 will rise to £22. It is currently £19.33. Once Air Passenger Duty of £13 is added, a short-haul economy passenger to Paris, Edinburgh or Aberdeen would pay a minimum of £35 even before stepping aboard a plane.

British Airways, which holds the majority of slots at Heathrow, said that charges have already tripled over the past 11 years and described the airport’s cost base as “inefficient”.

A BA spokesman said: “The charges must be reduced significantly over the coming years, especially when the airport is cutting investment by around 25 per cent from next year onwards. We hope the regulator will give a fair ruling in the months ahead, which doesn’t penalise customers and airlines.”

Virgin Atlantic’s chief operating officer, Steve Griffiths, called on the CAA to set a below-inflation increase after “the incredibly steep price rises” of the last few years: "Other businesses, in private and public sectors and especially airlines, are making savings and delivering on less money. Airports should not be exempt from that.”

The airport’s chief executive, Colin Matthews, said: “This is about keeping Heathrow competitive for passengers and airlines over the next five years, and making sure passengers choose to use Heathrow instead of using Paris or Amsterdam or Frankfurt – or, indeed, Dubai or Istanbul.”

For the first time, Heathrow is using “shocked passenger figures,” to calculate charges. These are conservative estimates that allow for possible downturns caused by events such as volcanic ash or pandemics.

The airport estimates that slightly fewer passengers will use the airport in 2014-15 than they do now. In 2012, 70m travellers passed through Heathrow.

In 2018-19 numbers are expected to rise to a record 72.6m annually, by which time the proposed charge would be £27.30 per passenger.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Proust as Captain Laure Berthaud in 'Spiral'
tvReview: Gritty, engaging and well-acted - it’s a wonder France’s biggest TV export isn’t broadcast on a more mainstream channel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Carmichael in still from Madam Bovary trailer
film
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing