International Airlines Group (IAG) has slammed Heathrow Airport’s plans to make passengers stump up £3.3 billion in advanced costs for a third runway before planning permission is guaranteed.
In a submission to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today, IAG says it has “absolutely no confidence” in Heathrow’s ability to deliver cost-effective expansion.
IAG said initial construction and planning costs, originally forecast at £915 million, have jumped by more than 250 per cent in two years and added “Heathrow continues to cover up the true cost of expansion”.
The airport says expansion will cost £14 billion. Initially that covered both the runway and additional terminal and aircraft stand capacity. However, its latest masterplan says that now only builds the runway. The total cost is £32 billion.
IAG chief executive, Willie Walsh (pictured left) said: “Advance costs are spiralling out of control and total expansion costs are being covered up. This latest development proves beyond doubt that Heathrow can’t be trusted.
“The airport’s chief executive thinks expansion is a “fait accompli” but with judicial, environmental and political hurdles ahead, there’s no guarantee. Spending £3.3 billion before receiving planning permission is irresponsible and it’s completely unacceptable to expect passengers to pick up the tab.
“Heathrow’s on a massive gravy train and will do everything to protect that. We have absolutely no confidence in its ability to deliver cost-effective expansion.
“The total bill for expansion is already running at £32 billion and yet they are trying to deceive everyone by continuing to claim that it can be done for £14 billion.”
IAG’s submission urges the CAA to regulate Heathrow effectively and stop the airport from steamrolling through massive cost increases.
Walsh added: “Heathrow told the CAA that pre-planning permission costs were £915 million. They’ve now been ramped up to £3.3 billion. The airport is treating customers with contempt and the CAA like puppets.”
IAG is the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and Level.