Heathrow airport is locked in a dogfight with airlines over plans to almost double passenger charges as it grapples with one of the biggest debt piles in British corporate history.
Leaked proposals, seen by The Telegraph, reveal that long-haul charges will rocket from £38.33 per traveller this year to £67.86 in 2022.
Virgin Atlantic said the increase – along with a rise in other bills – would cost a family of four flying to Florida an additional £200.
Former British Airways boss Willie Walsh, now head of industry body Iata, said: “We’ve heard that inflation is coming back, but that is ridiculous.
“It is outrageous that Heathrow’s shareholders are seeking to recoup Covid losses at the expense of their airline customers. The UK’s air connectivity is the slowest-recovering in Europe and it cannot afford to be set back by even higher charges.”
Heathrow has been hit hard by a combination of the UK’s maligned “traffic light” Covid border system, and gross debts of almost £20bn.
With the airport expecting to welcome fewer passengers in 2022 than 2021 – roughly a quarter of the 81 million in 2019 – bosses have had to ask lenders for waivers on the airport’s banking conditions to avoid defaulting on its loans.
Photo – EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL
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