Clipping Britain’s Wings

Published: May 2022

Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport, with airlines there providing connectivity to more than 80 different countries. This provides benefits to passengers, businesses, and the whole of the UK economy. The global connectivity achieved by airlines at Heathrow is simply not possible at any other UK airport. Prior to the pandemic, airlines operating at Heathrow carried 81 million passengers a year, and 40% of exports were handled through the airport.

However, proposed increases to charges for airlines flying from Heathrow put its global standing, and the benefits this brings to Britain, at risk. Regulated per-passenger charges have risen by more than 50% this year and are set to rise further between 2022 and 2026 if proposals go through.

This report, commissioned by Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and IATA, sets out how the CAA’s proposed per-passenger charges at Heathrow airport will make the UK’s global aviation industry less competitive, undermine the hub operation at Heathrow and reduce domestic and international connectivity – in turn, harming the Global Britain and Levelling Up agendas.

The report presents analysis of a range of sources to give a sense of the impact of these proposed changes on consumers and airlines. WPI analysis suggests that the proposals will result in a £5 billion cost to consumers and airlines over four years – and this does not take into account the knock-on impact on the wider benefits from Heathrow.

You can read the report here.

Published May 2022