In July Heathrow Airport Ltd requested to the CAA that it changes its approach to the airport’s airline charges due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its revenues in 2020 and 2021. It wants to put up prices.
The CAA has responded recognising that Covid-19 has had a severe and unprecedented effect on air traffic levels. “This has resulted in revenue reductions for many organisations in the aviation industry,” meaning everyone has been hit.
The CAA and Heathrow clearly do not agree on how the costs should be appropriated bearing in mind that much of the expense of an airport are fixed costs that have to be met regardless of the passenger/airline throughput.
Heathrow will today (12 October) publish its September figures expected to be much in line with August, when just 867,000 people travelled through the airport compared to August 2019 when the number was 7.78m, a drop of 82%.
IATA was quick to put out a statement which covered the situation for all Heathrow’s tenant airlines. “Increased airport charges will damage the fragile recovery in air travel and put thousands more jobs at risk. Heathrow’s shareholders benefitted from higher than expected growth in previous years and should not now try and evade their Covid-19 losses by passing them onto airlines and their passengers. We’re pleased the UK CAA have recognized this and we will continue to engage with them constructively to find an appropriate way forward.”
A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We are disappointed with the CAA’s initial assessment and believe that it is not the right outcome for passengers. It risks further job losses at Heathrow and will make future improvements for passengers much more expensive. We intend to respond robustly to the CAA.”