Heathrow terminals should be opened up to competition, British Airways owner says

British Airways is Heathrow’s biggest airline customer, accounting for more than 50 percent of its take-off and landing slots. (Reuters)
Updated 05 February 2018

Heathrow terminals should be opened up to competition, British Airways owner says

LONDON: Heathrow terminals should be run by companies other than the airport operator, the owner of British Airways said on Monday, continuing its long-standing call for lower costs at Europe’s busiest airport.
IAG, which also owns Iberia, Aer Lingus and other carriers, said in a submission to Britain’s CAA aviation regulator that bringing in third parties such as airlines themselves to run parts of Heathrow would create competition and keep down costs.
In October 2016 Britain backed an expansion of the London hub airport that will cost more than £14 billion. The green light followed decades of government indecision, but airlines including British Airways want the cost of a new runway to be minimized to keep a lid on their fares.
British Airways is Heathrow’s biggest airline customer, accounting for more than 50 percent of its take-off and landing slots, and IAG has previously said it would look to expand elsewhere if a new runway at Heathrow resulted in higher fees.
A 10-week public consultation on Heathrow’s expansion is underway, allowing for views on a plan that has generated fierce debate over both its cost and the impact on air quality and noise levels in the local community.
IAG Chief Executive Willie Walsh said in a statement on Monday that the government should ensure the CAA is able to introduce competition to the running of the airport.
“Most major US airports have terminals owned or leased by airlines and there are European examples at Frankfurt and Munich airports. There’s absolutely no reason why this cannot happen at Heathrow,” he said.
Heathrow dismissed the idea.
“Anyone who has had the misfortune of connecting through JFK airport will know this is not a passenger experience we should seek to replicate at Heathrow,” the airport said.
IAG leases terminal 7 at New York’s JFK airport while at Germany’s Munich airport, Terminal 2 is operated jointly by the airport operator and Lufthansa. Lufthansa also owns an 8.4 percent stake in Fraport, which operates its main hub in Frankfurt.
Heathrow has pledged to keep down costs during the expansion and said it had identified options to deliver the new airport for £2.5 billion less than previous plans, including an option for a shorter runway.
Heathrow Airport Holdings owns and runs all terminals at the airport. The company is in turn owned by Ferrovial, Qatar Investment Authority and China Investment Corporation among other shareholders.


Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

Updated 11 December 2019

Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

  • Company is now world’s largest publicly traded company, bigger than Apple

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco shares opened at 35.2 riyals ($9.39) on Wednesday at the Kingdom’s stock exchange, 10 percent above their IPO price of 32 riyals, in their first day of trading following a record $26.5 billion initial public offering.
Aramco has earlier priced its IPO at 32 riyals ($8.53) per share, the high end of the target range, surpassing the $25 billion raised by Chinese retail giant Alibaba in its 2014 Wall Street debut.
Aramco’s earlier indicative debut price was seen at 35.2 riyals, 10 per cent above IPO price, raising the company’s valuation to $1.88 trillion, Refintiv data showed.
At that price, Aramco is world’s most valuable listed company. That’s more than the top five oil companies – Exxon Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP – combined.
“Today Aramco will become the largest listed company in the world and (Tadawul) among the top ten global financial markets,” Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairwoman of the Saudi Arabian stock exchange, said during a ceremony marking the oil giant’s first day of trading.
“Aramco today is the largest integrated oil and gas company in the world. Before Saudi Arabia was the only shareholder of the company, now there are 5 million shareholders including citizens, residents and investors,” said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the managing director and chief executive of the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
“Aramco’s IPO will enhance the company’s governance and strengthen its standards.”
Amin Nasser, the president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, meanwhile thanked the new shareholders for their confidence and trust of the oil company.
The sale of 1.5 percent of the firm, or three billion shares, is the bedrock of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious strategy to overhaul the oil-reliant economy.
Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange earlier said it will hold an opening auction for Aramco shares for an hour from 9:30 a.m. followed by continuous trading, with price changes limited to plus or minus 10 percent.

The company said Friday it could exercise a “greenshoe” option, selling additional shares to bring the total raised up to $29.4 billion.
The market launch puts the oil behemoth’s value at $1.7 trillion, far ahead of other firms in the trillion-dollar club, including Apple and Microsoft.
Two-thirds of the shares were offered to institutional investors. Saudi government bodies accounted for 13.2 percent of the institutional tranche, investing around $2.3 billion, according to lead IPO manager Samba Capital.
The IPO is a crucial part of Prince Mohammed’s plan to wean the economy away from oil by pumping funds into megaprojects and non-energy industries such as tourism and entertainment.
Watch the video marking Aramco’s opening trading: