Airport expansion is welcome, but passengers and airlines shouldn’t have to pay increased charges, says IATA’s Rafael Schvartzman.

Heathrow

The International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Regional Vice President for Europe Rafael Schvartzman has welcomed the approval of Heathrow Airport’s expansion, but signaled a warning about its financing.

The British government won the House of Commons vote in favour of the National Policy Statement on airports by 415 votes to 119, a majority of 296, to pave the way for construction of a new £14 billion runway. 

Schvartzman described the news—which opens the way to the expansion of Heathrow Airport—as a “momentous day for the global air transport network”, but he emphasized that the deal should not be subsidized by airlines or travelers.

“It would be a shame if, having waited so long for the fruits of expansion, the UK were to shoot itself in the foot by creating an overpriced, uncompetitive airport," he said.

“This decision will create new jobs and new economic opportunities in the UK and strengthen ties to growing export markets. 

It would be a shame if, having waited so long for the fruits of expansion, the UK were to shoot itself in the foot by creating an overpriced, uncompetitive airport

“But these benefits will only be safeguarded if the expansion is delivered at a competitive cost. Passengers and airlines must not pay increased charges." 

Further planning approval is needed from Parliament before detailed procedures can be put in place, but Schvartzman is also hopeful that the opportunity for vital night flights will be a conditional part of any plans going forward.

“Operational flexibility is essential, especially to continue to allow a small number of essential early morning flights,” Schvartzman said.

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