Airline bosses savage airports over charges

Airline bosses savage airports over charges

Leading airline bosses demanded the EC toughen regulations on airports to stem rising airport charges.

International airlines Group (IAG) chief executive Willie Walsh said: “We are calling on the EU to strengthen regulation in the interest of consumers – If airport charges were lower, the benefits would be passed on.”

Walsh suggested charges at Europe’s biggest airports had grown by 80% in the past 10 years “while passenger charges decreased 20%”.

Speaking at an Airlines for Europe (A4E) summit in Brussels on Tuesday, he said: “We want the EC to focus on airport cost efficiency and genuine transparency. We want airlines to have meaningful consultations with airports [on airport development programmes].

“We want specific regulations for airports with the biggest market power.”

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary agreed, saying: “We want [the EC] to replace ineffective airport regulation with effective regulation.

“Too many airports tell us they are spending €2 billion on some marble palace, or in the case of Heathrow £14 billion.

“It takes some inventiveness to blow that amount on a runway that costs £120 million. We don’t need some grandiose palace. We want reform to end the egregious gold plating of airport developments.”

Walsh suggested: “There is a 50/50 chance of a third runway being built at Heathrow. But the price Heathrow is talking about is ridiculous.

“They first said £16 billion, now they are talking about £14 billion. If they thought they could get away with it, they would say £24 billion.

“We are their biggest customer and Heathrow treats us appallingly. Their costs are out of control. We have already knocked £2 billion off the price. I’m going to attack them every day.”

Walsh asked: “Who goes to an airport to look at a waterfall? You go to board a plane. I don’t want marble palaces.”

MoreAirports hit back at airline bosses’ claims


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