Wednesday, December 1, 2021
HomeAirlinesBritish AirwaysBritish Airways warns it will axe Heathrow flights in row over charges

British Airways warns it will axe Heathrow flights in row over charges

British Airways will consider axing Heathrow flights if planned increases in fees are implemented, the boss of the airline’s parent company has claimed.

International Airlines Group (IAG) chief executive Luis Gallego said the airport’s charges are already among the highest in the world and are becoming “more and more expensive”.

In October, the Civil Aviation Authority announced a plan to raise the cap on the airport’s average charge per passenger by up to 76 per cent, from the current level of £19.60 to between £24.50 and £34.40.

Mr Gallego said Heathrow gives the UK’s aviation sector a “major advantage”, but warned that “we need to attract demand to stay competitive”.

A British Airways plane arrives at Heathrow Airport

He told the Airlines 2021 conference in Westminster: “The reality is that more than 40 per cent of the people who use Heathrow are connecting passengers. They are simply passing through on their way to other destinations and could easily go by other, more competitive hubs.

“Hiking charges will not help. It will not attract demand – it will have the opposite effect. If the rise in landing charges goes ahead, I know IAG will not be alone in reconsidering our airlines’ use of Heathrow.”

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of trade body Airlines UK, warned: “It’s crazy that at a time when the travel industry needs holidaymakers to return to the skies, the UK’s biggest airport is hellbent on trying to price them out, penalising them for not travelling during the pandemic by adding an over-inflated premium to their tickets rather than turning to its shareholders or taking out loans, like the rest of the industry.”

A Heathrow spokeswoman responded: “Passengers know when they’re getting a raw deal.

“A £10 to £15 increase in airport charges is not comparable to pushing up economy-class tickets to the US to over £2,000 this Christmas, which is what some airlines are doing.

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