Heathrow Airport Limited, formerly BAA, plans to spend a further £3 billion (US$4.7bn) on infrastructure development at London Heathrow, in addition to the £11bn ($17.2bn) invested since 2003.
The investment forms part of the airport’s ‘Q6’ business plan, which covers 2014-19. The ten priority areas for Q6 include: the completion and start of extension of Terminal 2; smoother journeys with more self-service options and enhanced information services; better customer service; improved operational efficiency; better service access, which includes financial contribution towards the Crossrail project to link Heathrow with more central London locations; development of premium retail and lounges; higher punctuality through management technology and rapid exit taxiways; quicker connections; quieter aircraft, including noise insulation schemes; and reduced pollution.
Heathrow hopes that the publication of the business plan will serve as an input on the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) decision on the maximum amount the airport is permitted to charge airlines.
Colin Matthews, Chief Executive, said: “Heathrow faces stiff competition from other European hubs and we must continue to improve the service we offer passengers and airlines. We have invested billions of pounds in new facilities such as Terminal 5 in recent years and passengers say they have noticed the difference. Our plan for a further £3 billion of private-sector investment will further improve the airport for passengers. The plan represents good value for money for airlines and passengers and comes at no cost to taxpayers.”
A statement from Heathrow insists that airport charges will be kept at an affordable level for airlines while allowing enough return on investment to encourage future development. It added: “Over the Q5 regulatory period, passenger numbers have fallen 10% below the level anticipated by the CAA, resulting in Heathrow receiving around £650 million [$1bn] less than the allowed return from aeronautical charges. Heathrow cannot recover this cost now or in future. Correcting the passenger forecast for Q6 inevitably results in increased prices.”
Initial figures in the business plan indicate that the charge per passenger could increase to £27.30 ($42.6) by 2019. The CAA will reach its final decision on airport charges in January next year.