Following the lifting of pandemic lockdowns on Wednesday, Britain’s aviation regulator ordered London’s Heathrow airport to lower the fees it charges airlines.
Heathrow criticized the move, claiming that it has been badly struck by rising inflation at a time when it hasn’t fully recovered from the Covid stoppage in aviation.
The cut “recognizes that passenger volumes are projected to recover to pre-pandemic levels and should benefit passengers in terms of cheaper costs,” according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The regulator announced that starting in 2024, the fee paid by airlines per passenger would decrease by almost a fifth to £25.43.
Heathrow sharply criticized the action in a statement.
“At a time when airlines are earning tremendous profits and Heathrow is loss-making due to fewer passengers and greater financing costs, the CAA has opted to slash airport charges to their lowest real terms level in a decade,” it stated.
British Airlines’ parent company IAG’s CEO Luis Gallego made a suggestion that the cut was insufficient.
“Heathrow already charges five times as much as Dublin and three times as much as other major European airports, including Gatwick and Madrid.”
The airline conglomerate IAG, which also owns the Spanish carrier Iberia, said it would “continue to review… alternatives for additional action to ensure UK consumers do not pay an unjust premium to utilize Heathrow,” according to the statement.