LONDON Oct 12 The chief executive of British
Airways said the airline would oppose any move by its main
airport, Heathrow, to raise its charges if the London
hub is given permission to expand.
The British government will decide on whether to build new
airport capacity at London's Heathrow or Gatwick airports at
some point this month, with the country's busiest airport,
Heathrow, in pole position to win the right to grow.
Alex Cruz, the CEO of British Airways, part of International
Airlines Group, said that Heathrow should not hike its
airport fees to pay for any new runway it builds, echoing
comments made by his boss Willie Walsh, the CEO of IAG.
"If we were to get some sort of news that it was going ahead
at Heathrow, and Heathrow Airport were to react very quickly
saying from Jan. 1 we're going to add 10 pounds (to airport
charges), we wouldn't react very well," Cruz told an industry
audience on Wednesday.
"We would very much oppose such a move."
Some of the funding for expansion is expected to come from
an increase in the per departing passenger fees Heathrow charges
to airlines, meaning airlines and passengers operating over the
coming years could have to pay for infrastructure that they
won't be able to use until 2025 at the earliest.
Walsh has previously said that IAG's airlines will look to
expand elsewhere if a bigger Heathrow increases its fees.
Cruz added that British Airways, which accounted for
three-quarters of IAG's 2015 profit, was not going to leave
Heathrow but that the carrier wanted any new infrastructure to
be done at a low cost as possible and without higher fees.
"What we would really like to do is work with the government
and work with Heathrow Airport to really develop it into what it
should be," he said.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)