The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority has delayed the opening of the third runway from 2026 to 2029 because it didn’t want the up-front costs of compulsory purchases and buildings to be paid for, just in case final planning permission isn’t granted.
Heathrow wanted to spend £2.8 billion but the CAA said that would be passed on to customers before they saw any benefit of the new runway.
It’s restricted the forward spend to £1.6 billion.
Now it seems strange that this is one of the arguments British Airways have been peddling through their lobbyists for over two years – BA/IAG object to the runway for reasons that make no real sense from an airline. They use the “costs being passed to passengers” arguments all the time. Their real concern is the threat to their near 60% control of Heathrow’s slots and that more competition will come in when the runway is finished.
Despite Boris Johnson disliking the runway parliament has approved it, provided it can meet noise and pollution targets – which it looks set to do.
It now has to undergo further testing of its noise and pollution plans, deal with hundreds of environmentalist objections and get local authority formal approvals before construction can begin.
British Airways other argument against the runway is that it will force up ticket prices as new airport fees are added to fund it. Oddly no other airline is objecting, seeing the runway as a benefit at the highly restricted airport that operates at 98% capacity most days of the year.