Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA and Aer Lingus owner IAG has launched a scathing attack on Heathrow and has condemned the airport for “making passengers stump up more than £3bn” toward the third runway.
Walsh said the cost of the of the airports expansion is a “heist” and said the airport has acted “irresponsibly” by spending £3.3bn before they have even received planning permission.
The IAG urged the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Wednesday through a submission to stop the airport pushing through more cost increases.
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.”
He added, “Heathrow told the CAA that pre-planning permission costs were £915 million. 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.
“We can’t be held up by IAG simply looking to protect their dominant position and record profits.”
Construction could start in 2021 with the runway opening in 2026.