Airlines using Heathrow have reacted sharply to Heathrow Airport’s proposed inflation-busting airport fee increases while the airline industry is still reeling from two years of decimation due to the pandemic.
But airport managers have defended the proposal to increase fees by 117%, saying that airlines seem more interested in protecting their own profits than in giving their passengers a reliable journey.
The proposal will bring around £5 billion (R99,4m) to the airport over the next four years, which according to airlines is “£5 billion more than it needs.”
Airlines have accused Heathrow of price gouging. A report by WPI Economics (an economics and data consultancy), commissioned by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and IATA, claims Heathrow over-estimates future operating costs and under-estimates commercial revenue by hundreds of millions. The report says the hike is disproportionate and “puts shareholders above consumers and the economy”.
The report calls for the British Government to act “to ensure that its global Britain and levelling-up agendas are not jeopardised by an unjustified regulatory decision.”
But Heathrow has called the report “so flawed it is embarrassing.”
Virgin Atlantic CEO, Shai Weiss, said: “Already the most expensive airport in Europe, Heathrow is abusing its monopoly position to fleece passengers.
“The CAA must step up to fulfil its primary duty to consumers, by regulating a monopoly.”
The CAA is due to publish its final proposals on airport charges in June.