Heathrow’s “monopoly” should be broken up to allow other firms to design and build new terminals, according to British Airways (BA) chief executive Willie Walsh.
Walsh claimed that allowing other companies to design, build and run terminal infrastructure at Heathrow would ensure passenger landing charges do not rise to pay for expansion, something BA opposes.
Heathrow has recently launched a public consultation on its initial expansion plans, detailing ideas for a raised runway and re-routing part of the M25 through a tunnel.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has dismissed Walsh’s idea as a “blatant attempt” to frustrate expansion-related competition between airlines.
Walsh said: “Heathrow’s already reassessed its expansion plans when faced with a new potential developer. Our proposal will ensure it continues to focus on cost control, something it has been reluctant to do in the past.
“This is not rocket science. Most major US airports have terminals owned or leased by airlines and there are European examples at Frankfurt and Munich airports. There’s absolutely no reason why this cannot happen at Heathrow.”
Walsh put his ideas forward in a submission to the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) consultation on Heathrow expansion. His comments came hours before Heathrow executives were due to give evidence on Heathrow’s expansion plans to the Commons transport committee.
Holland-Kaye said: “This is a blatant attempt by Mr Walsh to maintain a dominant monopoly for BA at Heathrow and to frustrate the increased airline competition that should result from expansion.”
Walsh, along with several other airline bosses, has written to the transport committee requesting a price cap on passenger landing charges. The committee is conducting an inquiry into the government’s draft Airports National Policy Statement before MPs vote on Heathrow expansion in parliament later this year.