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IAG makes call for government to introduce competition to Heathrow Airport as it expands

The International Airlines Group (IAG) is pushing for the transport select committee to ensure that the Civil Aviation Authority is given authority to introduce competition to Heathrow Airport as it expands.

IAG Chief Executive, Willie Walsh, said he would express the group’s concern when he talks to the committee.

Heathrow Airport is currently lobbying to be chosen as the exclusive promoter of terminals in the government’s National Policy Statement.

IAG argues that this should be deterred in the interest of competition and consumers.

IAG continued to make their case in saying that the government had every chance to open up Heathrow’s terminals to competition in the aviation act of but did not do so.

From IAG’s perspective, the NPS offers the ideal opportunity to resolve that failure and state clearly that other operators can operate terminals and that the CAA can implement this.

Walsh said:

“We’re calling on the transport select committee to ensure the CAA has the necessary power to act in consumers’ interests.

“It must be able to force Heathrow to let other parties design, build and run commercial facilities like terminals if it’s required to improve competition and keep costs down.

“It’s outrageous if the government enshrines Heathrow Airport as the sole provider of expansion. Heathrow’s cost proposals are still excessive and incredibly vague.

“There is no breakdown beyond the overall cost of £14 billion – it hasn’t even said how much it will cost to move the M25. The true costs are being hidden and will only be revealed after parliament votes on the NPS later this year.

“By then it will be too late. Heathrow will effectively have carte blanche to increase overall costs.

“If the CAA cannot force competition now, it will be further weakened in the face of an unstoppable monopoly with a green light from Government.

“We want the CAA to have go/no-go power to ensure that there is proper cost control and that any overspend is entirely at HAL’s risk and not picked from customers’ pockets.”

Lord Paul Deighton, the Chairman of Heathrow Airport, reiterated the national significance of expansion, but also the weight of expanding the right way for local communities and the entire nation.

Deighton said:

“For passengers, an expanded Heathrow will increase competition and choice, helping to drive down fares.

“We will deliver this project while keeping airline charges as close to current levels as possible, having already stripped out £2.5 billion of costs from our initial proposals,” he said.

“We continue to welcome scrutiny of our plans.

“The inquiry, including our evidence session, and wider parliamentary scrutiny, mark important steps towards delivering expansion.”

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