Heathrow criticisms from Emirates are retaliated by airports, who accuse airlines of trying to reduce charges
Heathrow boss at Emirates advises Heathrow colleague that ‘Your job is to be up there and out looking after consumers, rather than bellyaching about not having staff.
The boss of Emirates demanded the resignation of Heathrow’s chief executive. However, the airport’s body has reacted and accused airlines of trying to influence a decision on airport charges this week.
Emirates, the largest airline at Heathrow by passengers flown, was furious when the airport imposed a cap on departures of 100,000 in July. This was to maintain control of numbers.
Now Sir Tim Clark is the chief executive of the carrier and has asked for John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow CEO, to resign.
the Heathrow boss suggested that airlines could once again be subject to a cap during the New Year and Christmas. Anyone who speaks like that is not the right person for the job.
He addressed Mr. Holland-Kaye and said that his job was to look after customers, not complain about not having enough staff. We did what was necessary – we found workarounds. It’s not right to sit on your hands and say ‘ho, hum’.
Willie Walsh (director-general of, the International Air Transport Association) joined the Heathrow criticism, saying that Heathrow’s performance was a disgrace.
British Airways’ former chief executive, Mr. Walsh, stated that the airport’s projections on passenger numbers were “way, way off” and had greatly underestimated the travel rebound.
Heathrow’s management believes that the criticisms from airlines have been placed just before a critical Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the decision regarding charges at the airport.
Heathrow spokeswoman said that Iata had made unjustified personal attacks to try to get the CAA board to increase airport charges. This would maximize airline profits while reducing investment in consumer services.
“Our goal has been to do what is right for consumers. We acted to ensure Heathrow’s consumer service when the industry was facing scaling-up challenges this summer.
“Our interventions were targeted more than other European hubs, and have been proven to be the right thing.”
Heathrow charges a maximum amount, which the regulator currently considers. The CAA stated that the maximum charge for Heathrow should drop to PS26.31 by 2026, from PS30.19 in June 2022.
Baroness Ruby McGregor Smith, Chair of the Airport Operators Association, strongly supported Heathrow.
She called Heathrow’s comments “unfavorable” and “unjustified”, and accused airlines of trying to influence the CAA about airport charges.
Baroness McGregor Smith stated that there were no easy solutions when the pandemic wiped out our industry in an instant.
“The UK’s aviation sector is more complicated and fragmented that Middle Eastern hub, where all airlines, airports, and ground handling staff are owned by the state and paid through public subsidy.
“Heathrow, and all other UK airports, did not receive the funding that they needed from the UK government. Heathrow was once one of the busiest airports in the world, but it became a business that lost PS5m per day and more than PS4bn total during the pandemic.
“The UK’s remarkable achievement of scaling up more than any other European hub, despite being cut off from many markets during Covid and receiving zero state subsidies, is an incredible feat. And to do this with passenger service scores almost at par with 2019 is even better.”
Baroness McGregor Smith aimed at airlines that have reduced staff numbers and said: “In the face of enormous uncertainty Heathrow action to protect colleagues and keep jobs for all on the frontline who desired one – not every business can say this.”
According to Heathrow sources, airlines have increased fares so much in response to the surge in post-Covid demand that any increase in airport fees would be barely noticeable.
In the summer, the CAA stated that “It has become evident that both Heathrow Airport Ltd. and the airlines using Heathrow Airport have starkly differing views on the level charges for the next five years.”
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