Walsh attacks 40pc Heathrow price rises

Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group, the owners of British Airways, has attacked Heathrow Airport for applying to charge airlines 40pc more to use the airport over the next five years.

Mr Walsh said Heathrow Airport Holdings, which operates the hub to the west of London, was seeking permission for the increases from the Civil Aviation Authority.

carnifex: When one looks at an economy class airticket and notes that the airport taxes, surcharges and the like outweigh or very nearly outweigh the cost of the flight (even on the ultra-long hauls), something is seriously wrong. Very soon, savvy travellers will simply fly airlines which hub at Paris CDG, Schiphol or Frankfurt, and drive, catch the train or bus to/from UK to their flights. If present trends continue, it will be cheaper to do this than fly to/from UK itself, and will avoid the omnishambles that is LHR and getting to and from it, whether by M25 or the LHR/Paddington Express. Well done BAA or whatever you are now called, and the UK government. Greedy troughing, swine both. 

caernarfon: carnifex If you can book well in advance and get  your connections neatly in a row, it is already cheaper to use Eurostar to Paris and then fly to Singapore.  You don't pay the exorbitant airport fees or the stealth tax - APD.

factualf: Perhaps BA should first get to grips with remembering to fasten its engine cowls when sending a plane into service, before starting another whinging session?

easyp: Oh Dear Mr Walsh invested money in Iberia but neither he nor his predecessor thought to buy a stake in Heathrow when it was for sale. Amusingly he states "the airport had failed to get to grips with costs and that as the only hub airport in the UK it was acting as a monopoly provider and was not “instinctively pro-customer”. Some BA customers might say something similar about the airline and its staff.

ubique: This is what happens when you either privatise essential infrastructure or sell it to foreign owned companies.  Cost inevitably go up to provide profits for shareholders. At the end of the day, we are all losers because our cost of living, cost of transport and cost of travel, in this instance, escalate.

thammond65: Total rubbish. The CAA sets the return shareholders can get. Charges are set in relation to the return based on the investment made and costs. Heathrow cannot make a better return than the CAA allows. So get your facts straight.

chris_xxxx: Just build the third runway and even a fourth runway at Heathrow. The country is losing millions in lost revenue to European rivals. Nimbys do not have a veto on important parts of the UK economy. Don't like aircraft noise? Then don't live near an airport or under the flight path. That's why I don't live near one.

bob228: The simple fact is that Heathrow was there long before about 98% of the house were built. The houses were built because people working at he airport or it support functions wanted to live near the airport and because of the good transport links If you choose to live near an airport you will get some air craft noise, Many bought house near Heathrow because they were cheaper and they were cheaper because some people do not like aircraft noise Endless reports have been produced on  extra capacity and they have all come down in favour of expansion of Heathrow. It is the best location  and it is where airlines want to operate from To reduce the load on Heathrow in the short term most of the freight could go to Stansted although I dont think Heathrow has much dedicated freight flights in any case Improving transport links at Stansted might help as well as they are operating at under 50% capacity but it is difficult to get airlines to fly from there. It was a very poor choice of location for London's third airport. It is far to far east.

A_Londoner: The CAA is meant to be acting in the best interest of passengers and the UK.  Heathrow particularly T5 is a decent standard already.  It does not need any further improvement.  The only thing that needs improving is to make it cheaper to fly again… Heathrow would then get more through trade anyway!

coriolis: The hike does seem excessive, but Walsh chose to consolidate British Airways at Heathrow.  Only an idiot or someone with nil understanding of business would fail to recognise the downside of such a move (almost as dull as deciding to merge with a defunct and shabby airline in an already defunct economy) and, sorry Mr Walsh, but your whingeing and blaming others for your stupid mistakes is becoming boring. The inheritee board of British Airways should do 40,000 employees and it's millions of customers a favour by giving up business and take up fly fishing.

random_turns:  When you buy a airline ticket it's incredible the amount of tax now that is levied by Heathrow compared to other airports. But I suppose they know what they are doing and only have the long term interest of the airport at heart, and not some short term profit gains.

rimmer: They? Dubbious I hope it gets rejected.

random_turns: Rinner, by "they" I meant BAA which seem to fleece the travelling public at any opportunity with thier monoply.  I feel nauseated everything I go through Heathow and I appear to be viewed purely as a cash machine by them. I prefer Gatwick or Bristol, despite the inconvenience (Gatwick) or higher cost airline ticket but lower tax (Bristol). 

thammond65: You don't know what you are talking about. Go to the website of the CAA and see how charges are regulated. Then come back, remove your comment and try again.

random_turns: Hold on a moment, the CAA it's self believes Heathrow’s operating costs are too high and charges should not rise above inflation. Airlines are charged the fees which are then passed onto customer. I'm confused, do you agree with the CAA or not?

thammond65: Heathrow's charges are set by the CAA. They get a return based on investment and costs. They cannot make more than that. So stupid comment.

rimmer: I agree with WW…Heathrow is an okay airport but not worth paying twice or three times that of Gatwick… Sorry the spanish paid so much…but foolish they were comment over.

thammond65: What the Spanish paid has no bearing on the charges Heathrow can make. So dumb comment.

factualf: Before calling rimmer 'dumb', had you thought that assuming the Spanish consortium did overpay for LHR and that they have used debt finance to pay for it, they can't make the kind of profit they want from it.  Their interest payments are enormous as it is.  To upgrade LHR to something approaching an acceptable modern standard means they have to borrow £ hundreds of millions more - on top of the high price already paid. All this has to be paid for and beacuse they overpaid in the first place, they are over-stretched. LHR makes money from landing fees and shopping.  So, they try to push up landing fees to pay for debt-financed T5, the new T2 being built, plus all the other work that needs doing…on top of having paid too much for LHR in the first place. So, rimmer makes a very valid point.

easyp: Agree with your point and would add that by adopting a fortress Heathrow policy BA have boxed themselves in. It's a shame they did not make better use of Gatwick and some regional airports.

bob228: The problem Heathrow has is it is operating at capacity and a lot of the airport facilities need updating. They are updating them and a new Terminal 2 should help but whilst it is being built it has to disrupt things to a degree. It has to as the airport is at capacity The transport links to Heathrow are good. Yes they get congested but Heathrow is the Busiest airport in the world by a very wide margin New transport links are going in as well such as Crossrail and a new direct link from South Wales & the West Country Consideration is also being given to extending some Wet Coat mainline  line trains to Heathrow using existing tracks. hey would run as now to Willesden Junction where there would then cross on to the GWR lines and then through to Heathrow

max1234: can't privatise a monopoly or utility. it's a con.