March 1, 2024

IAG slams Heathrow expansion plans

International Airlines Group (IAG) has slammed Heathrow airport's plan to make passengers pay £3.3 billion in advanced costs for a new third runway, before planning permission has been secured.

IAG says the airport is potentially ripping off the consumers who will have to foot the bill, with costs escalating all the time, and the total projected costs almost double the original estimate.

According to IAG’s submission to the Civil Aviation Authority’s Consultation on Economic Regulation of Capacity Expansion at Heathrow, initial construction and planning costs, originally forecast at £915 million, have jumped by more than 250% in two years.

The airport initially said expansion would cost £14 billion, covering both the runway and additional terminal and aircraft stand capacity. However, its latest masterplan says that the original estimate only builds the runway, and the total cost is actually £32 billion.

Urging the Civil Aviation Authority to regulate Heathrow effectively and stop the airport from steamrolling through massive cost increases, IAG says it has absolutely no confidence in Heathrow’s ability to deliver cost-effective expansion.

IAG’s Chief Executive, Willie Walsh, said: “Advance costs are spiralling out of control and total expansion costs are being covered up. This latest development proves beyond doubt that Heathrow can’t be trusted.

“The airport’s chief executive thinks expansion is a ‘fait accompli’ but with judicial, environmental and political hurdles ahead, there’s no guarantee. Spending £3.3 billion before receiving planning permission is irresponsible and it’s completely unacceptable to expect passengers to pick up the tab.

“Heathrow’s on a massive gravy train and will do everything to protect that. The total bill for expansion is already running at £32 billion and yet they are trying to deceive everyone by continuing to claim that it can be done for £14 billion”.

He added: “Heathrow told the CAA that pre-planning permission costs were £915 million. They’ve now been ramped up to £3.3 billion. The airport is treating customers with contempt and the CAA like puppets.”