The boss of British Airways’ parent company has pledged to fight Heathrow’s plans to recoup the £18bn cost of the third runway from airlines “every inch of the way”.
At the Airlines for Europe aviation summit in Brussels, IAG chief executive Willie Walsh questioned the airport’s plans to fund the runway by charging airlines. He called the funding plan “a drug” airports should get off, according to travel industry magazine Travel Weekly.
British Airways is the biggest airline operating at Heathrow and would therefore be a major contributor to construction costs.
Walsh has previously criticised Heathrow’s funding plans, stressing in October that customers must not be affected by price hikes.
“We’re pleased that a decision has finally been made but the cost of this project will make or break it,” said Walsh.
“We will be vigilant in ensuring that Heathrow does not raise charges to benefit its shareholders to the detriment of the travelling public.”
His recent comments raise questions about how Heathrow will fund its third runway. Currently Heathrow plans to use private funding to build the runway, with money coming from airlines and higher charges for their customers.
“We will continue to work collaboratively with all our airline partners to ensure Heathrow expansion is affordable, sustainable and benefits all of Britain,” said a spokesperson for Heathrow.
“The launch of the Government’s National Policy Statement consultation last week was a key milestone demonstrating we are getting on with our expansion programme, so that we can create the new routes that will deliver the Prime Minister’s vision of a global Britain, as quickly as possible.”