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.


China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

Updated 12 December 2019

China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

  • China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane
  • China was first country to ground plane in March

BEIJING: China’s aviation regulator raised “important concerns” with Boeing Co. on the reliability and security of design changes to the grounded 737 MAX, it said on Thursday, but declined to comment on when the plane might fly again in China.
China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane based on proposed changes to software and flight control systems according to a bilateral agreement with the United States, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) spokesman Liu Luxu told reporters at a monthly briefing.
He reiterated that for the plane to resume flights in China, it needed to be re-certified, pilots needed comprehensive and effective training to restore confidence in the model and the causes of two crashes that killed 346 people needed to be investigated with effective measures put in place to prevent another one.
China was the first country to ground the 737 MAX after the second crash in Ethiopia in March and had set up a task force to review design changes to the aircraft that Boeing had submitted.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not allow the 737 MAX to resume flying before the end of 2019, its chief, Steve Dickson, said on Wednesday.
Once the FAA approves the reintroduction into service, the 737 MAX can operate in the United States, but individual regulators could keep the planes grounded in other countries until they complete their own reviews.
“Due to the trade war, the jury is still out on when China would reintroduce the aircraft,” said Rob Morris, Global Head of Consultancy at Ascend by Cirium.
Chinese airlines had 97 737 MAX jets in operation before the global grounding, the most of any country, according to Cirium Fleets Analyzer.