Heathrow plans to raise customer costs to cover airport’s debt – by £200 for family of 4

Heathrow: Longs queues are begging to subside

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Heathrow was the busiest airport in Europe for many years, with passengers from all over the world passing through the hub. However, it is now in 10th place in Europe, as the Government’s traffic light system put travellers off the UK. 

Heathrow is now planning to raise charges against airlines, which experts predict will pass onto customers. 

Some of the charges will apply to an aircraft’s noise level. This will impact older noisier models which will incur higher fees. 

Aircraft parking charges are also set to increase by 40 percent while landing charges for flights outside Europe will almost double. 

While the rising costs will first be felt by airlines, experts are predicting that carriers will end up increasing their prices for customers to cover the increase. 

Virgin Atlantic has said a family of four arriving in the UK from the US would see their flight cost raised by £200 if the charges go ahead. 

Corneel Koster, chief operating officer at Virgin Atlantic said: “In the midst of the worst-ever crisis to hit the travel and aviation industry, Heathrow is prioritising its shareholders at the expense of airlines and consumers.”

A spokesperson for Airlines UK, which represents British flight carriers said: “Heathrow’s proposed charges will have a detrimental impact on consumers, the majority of whom have been prevented from travelling for the last 18 months, and the post-Covid recovery of the entire aviation industry.”

In 2019, over 80m passengers flew from the airport. As the pandemic took hold, the number of passengers dropped to 22m in 2020. 

Heathrow has heavily criticised the UK Government’s strict traffic light system for having a huge impact on passenger levels. 

The new rules on testing and travel are expected to increase passenger numbers and holiday providers are already reporting a boom in bookings. 

From October 4, double-vaccinated passengers will no longer need to take a pre-departure test before arrival in the UK. 

Later on in October Grant Shapps has said expensive day two PCR tests will be replaced with a cheaper lateral flow option.

The amber and green lists have also been merged in a move expected to increase tourist confidence. 

All countries will now be divided into red list and ‘rest of world’. Travellers from red list countries will still need to quarantine for ten days in a Government hotel. 

Heathrow chief, John Holland-Kaye, said the simplified rules were “very welcome”. 

However, restrictions on UK tourists entering popular holiday destinations such as the US could continue to impact traveller numbers. 

A Heathrow spokesperson said on the proposed charges:  “We’re consulting with airlines and we welcome their feedback.

“We have reduced our prices by over 16 percent during the past seven years, providing excellent value for money.

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