IATA says third runway project cannot lead to increased charges

Heathrow, charges, runway

Heathrow must ensure airport charges do not rise due to the construction of the third runway, IATA has said.

Heathrow’s charges are already the highest in the world. They are more than double that of Gatwick, 25% more than Frankfurt, 34% more than Paris CDG and 40% more than Amsterdam.

It is imperative that charges do not rise above today’s level.

There is an urgent need to “open the books” and get beneath the figures

The projected costs of the runway—at £17 billion—are a deep concern, and IATA has reiterated that airline support for the project is conditional on the agreement of an affordable plan.

This view has been backed by UK’s the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, who noted the scheme must deliver “a plan for expansion that keeps landing charges close to current levels.”

IATA has also welcomed comments from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) CEO Andrew Haines, who emphasized the need for Heathrow to engage with airlines to drive cost efficiency.

Britain and the world is entering a new and uncertain political and economic cycle

As well as the importance of value for money and engagement, IATA says there is an urgent need to “open the books” and get beneath the figures, as Heathrow committed to do in a letter to IATA in September.

There is also a need for the airport to address concerns around compensation costs and surface access.

IATA has also highlighted how important it is that the CAA’s approach is fair to customers and airlines.

IATA remains disappointed with the CAA’s decision regarding the approval of the first £10m of planning costs being incorporated into the Licence, and says provision must be made to ensure proper scrutiny and control of additional planning costs, which could be as high as £800m.

The right airport infrastructure—at the right price—will keep the UK as a world-leading hub for decades to come

Regional Vice President for IATA Europe, Rafael Schvartzman, said at a Board of Airlines Representatives meeting in the UK: “It must be stressed the economic advantages [of the third runway] will be swiftly eroded if the projected costs of the project stay as they are. The estimated cost of £17 billion is far too much.

"As IATA’s Director General put it in December, the UK could have built and run the 2012 Olympics twice over for that sort of money.

“Britain and the world is entering a new and uncertain political and economic cycle,” he continued.

“Investment in infrastructure is a sure sign that the UK is looking to future-proof itself as a competitive economy and an attractive business and tourism location.

“The right airport infrastructure—at the right price—will keep the UK as a world-leading hub for decades to come.”

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