BA chief Walsh slams Heathrow over expansion costs
The boss of British Airways' parent company has launched a bitter attack on Heathrow, condemning the airport for "making passengers stump up more than £3bn" towards its third runway plans.
Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA and Aer Lingus owner IAG, branded the cost of the airport's expansion a "heist" in a stinging broadside.
He said the airport has acted "irresponsibly" in spending £3.3bn on the expansion before receiving planning permission for its proposals.
In a submission to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) yesterday, IAG urged the authority to stop the airport pushing through cost increases.
Mr Walsh said: "Heathrow's on a massive gravy train and will do everything to protect that. We have absolutely no confidence in its ability to deliver cost-effective expansion.
"Spending £3.3bn before receiving planning permission is irresponsible and it's completely unacceptable to expect passengers to pick up the tab.
"The airport's chief executive thinks expansion is a 'fait accompli' but, with judicial, environmental and political hurdles ahead, there's no guarantee."
IAG also claimed that Heathrow's initial costs have spiralled by 250% over the past two years.
Mr Walsh went on: "Heathrow told the CAA that pre-planning permission costs were £915m. They've now been ramped up to £3.3bn.
"The airport is treating customers with contempt and the CAA like puppets."
A Heathrow spokeswoman replied: "The costs for developing Heathrow out to 2050 are exactly the same as what we submitted to the Airports Commission - IAG's misleading rhetoric won't change history.
"What will change in the future is the huge increase in competition amongst airlines and choice for passengers that we will deliver by expanding Heathrow."