Head of world airline group blasts Heathrow plan for higher fees

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LONDON, Oct 13 (Businesshala) – Willie Walsh, head of global airlines industry body IATA, on Wednesday called Britain’s Heathrow airport a “greedy monopoly hub” and said its plans to raise airport fees were “outrageous”.

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Since leaving British Airways’ parent company IAG (ICAG.L) last year to run the International Air Transport Association, Walsh has continued to drum up against passenger charges at Britain’s busiest airport.

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Addressing an audience at the Aviation Club in central London, he said Heathrow is trying to put the financial burden of the COVID-19 crisis on its customers by proposing to raise airport fees by 90% to £42 ($57) per person. Had been.

“This time around, when you see what Heathrow is trying to do, it jumps off the page,” Walsh said.

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Heathrow, which lost its crown as Europe’s busiest hub to Paris last year, is owned by investors including Spain’s Ferrovial (FER.MC), Qatar Investment Authority and China Investment Corp.

It said airports in the UK and around the world were having to increase their prices after the pandemic, and it was a legitimate response to ensure they could continue operating.

“We have proposed a balanced 4% increase in average airfares that will allow us to continue targeted investments in airport flexibility and maintain basic service standards,” Heathrow said in a statement.

Walsh, who has a reputation as a bruiser in dealing with unions and suppliers, said the higher fees would fund larger dividends for Heathrow shareholders.

He called on the UK regulatory Civil Aviation Authority to protect consumers by pushing back against the airport’s “abusive behaviour”.

“The recovery of the UK’s travel and tourism industry impacts millions of jobs. They cannot effectively be held hostage to a greedy monopoly hub airport encroachment,” he said.

“I can’t see that nearly doubling the fee at Heathrow is in the interest of consumers, especially as we’re trying to fix the industry.” ($1 = 0.7335 pounds)

Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Alex Richardson


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