Virgin Atlantic boss withdraws support for Heathrow third runway and slams airport’s ‘monopoly position’

The manager govt of Virgin Atlantic has introduced a stinging assault at the passenger fees at its major airport, London Heathrowand stated he now not helps a 3rd runway there.

Talking on the Airways 2022 tournament in London, Shai Weiss stated: “Past due remaining yr, already the costliest airport on the earth requested the CAA [Civil Aviation Authority] – its regulator – for a 120 according to cent worth hike in according to passenger fees.

“Nice for the airport and its most commonly overseas shareholders, however a nasty deal for customers, airways, and the United Kingdom financial system.

“If we wish a globally aggressive aviation sector, that are supposed to merely now not be allowed to occur.”

Mr Weiss stated that Virgin Atlantic had labored with British Airlines and different airways to induce the federal government “to pay nearer consideration to the abuse of energy by way of a de facto monopolistic airport”.

He added that until the “damaged” machine is reformed, “it’s tricky to peer how enlargement at Heathrow can also be supported.”

In a while after the beginning of the Covid pandemic, Virgin Atlantic closed its authentic base at London Gatwick and consolidated its operations at Heathrow.

Mr Weiss additionally raised what he known as “the wear to client self assurance that summer season disruption led to”. Personnel shortages at Heathrow and different UK airports ended in well-liked delays and cancellations.

He stated: “A repeat of this in summer season 2023 is totally avoidable if fair and correct passenger forecasts are used now for useful resource making plans and construction resilience.

“Returning call for – whether or not it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter 2023 – must come as no wonder and the CAA should now not permit our best hub airport to sleepwalk into any other fully avoidable length of disruption.”

Throughout the summer season Heathrow imposed a day-to-day cap of 100,000 departing passengers.

The airport says upper fees are essential to improve amenities.

A spokesperson for Heathrow stated: “To ship the airport carrier passengers be expecting, two issues are wanted: for our regulator to present us the power to put money into the airport; and for all of the operators on the airport to paintings in combination construction again capability.

“Our efforts are firmly directed in opposition to the optimistic engagement and collaboration with the regulator and with the airways to ship nice carrier for passengers this Christmas and into subsequent yr.”

Talking later on the identical tournament, Heathrow’s leader govt known as on ministers to minimize the tax burden on aviation. John Holland-Kaye stated air passenger accountability levied on passengers leaving Heathrow in an instant earlier than the pandemic totalled £2bn, the similar because the airport’s income from aviation fees.

He added: “We can not stay milking the aviation sector endlessly.

“The United Kingdom has its again to the wall nowadays.”

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