Heathrow management has proposed an increase in passenger fees that would, by 2018, raise the per passenger charge to £27.30. That is on top of the APD, likely making LHR one of the priciest airports in the world. Understandably, neither BA nor Virgin shares the enthusiasm, which see higher charges (and hence prices) as further undermining their passenger base.
In an interesting twist of logic, the airport notes that its passenger numbers have fallen short of the traffic anticipated by the CAA, thus cutting anticipated revenue and making it difficult to “deliver a fair return to shareholders.” They also stated that the plan “represent(s) good value for passengers, airlines and the UK.” What is unclear is the nature of the alternate universe that they inhabit.
Could they be referring to the same Heathrow that is maxed out and hugely affected by any weather or operational disruption? The one located in a country where the government has imposed travel taxes that treat air travelers as a giant piggy bank, used to fund budget deficits? Is it the same place that has established unprecedented levels of tedium in the endless and still unsettled question of additional capacity at one of the world’s premiere business and touristic destinations?
And the answer to all of that appears to be – let’s jack up the cost a bit more! In Adam Smith’s native land they have failed to grasp the idea that a high priced offer that is losing market position will probably not be helped by additional price hikes. And if the travelling public votes with its feet to avoid the UK, the shareholders may find their lot to be even worse.
However, if the ultimate goal is to bring joy to the hearts of those in Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt and Zurich that stand to benefit from those avoiding travel via the UK, bingo.