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Heathrow Expansion: Landing Charges

Volume 644: debated on Thursday 5 July 2018

3. What assessment he has made of the potential effect of increased landing charges at Heathrow Airport on the financial viability of the proposed expansion of that airport. (906264)

I have been absolutely clear that expansion will be privately financed, and the Government have taken independent expert advice which demonstrated that expansion is capable of being financed without Government support. I have been clear that airport charges must be controlled, which is why I set out in 2016 that expansion should be delivered with airport charges remaining as close as possible to current levels. It is the Civil Aviation Authority’s job to enforce that, and I am certain that it will do so.

The Airports Commission has indicated that landing charges would have to rise by around 70% per passenger, and British Airways has warned that any such increase would make many routes from Heathrow no longer commercially viable. Would that not have significant consequences for regional connections and/or increase ticket prices for passengers?

We have of course been working to ensure that the cost of the original scheme was brought down in order to avoid a 70% rise in landing charges, but I have been clear that the requirement to set aside around 15% of slots for regional connections is non-negotiable and fixed. It will not be possible to change those slots to long-haul destinations because they are an essential part of the reform.

I expect that we will complete plans for airspace modernisation over the coming months. There will be a rolling programme in the early 2020s, and I expect details of that plan to be made clear, probably in 2019.