How much will the passenger charges at London Heathrow change? Costs now and in the future

·2-min read
Heathrow Airport has hiked its annual passenger forecast once again as demand ramps up for overseas travel (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)
Heathrow Airport has hiked its annual passenger forecast once again as demand ramps up for overseas travel (Steve Parsons/PA) (PA Wire)

Heathrow Airport has been told that it must cut passenger charges for airlines each year until 2026 by the Civil Aviation Authority.

The regulator said that the reduction in charges reflected the recent rebound in passenger numbers, but would still allow the airport to invest.

However, Heathrow, which wanted the charges raised, said that the proposed move would undermine the delivery of key improvements.

The charges are paid by airlines, but then can be passed on to passengers via airfares, and they go towards operating terminals, runways, baggage systems and security.

Here is everything you need to know about the changes.

How much will the passenger charges change?

Airports across the country were overwhelmed by an influx of passengers over the Platinum Jubilee weekend (Ben Smith/PA) (PA Wire)
Airports across the country were overwhelmed by an influx of passengers over the Platinum Jubilee weekend (Ben Smith/PA) (PA Wire)

At present, the average charge per passenger at Heathrow is £30.19, and the CAA has said this will fall to £26.31 by 2026. However, Heathrow wanted to increase it to £41.95.

The CAA said the reduction in the charge “reflects expected increases in passenger numbers as the recovery from the pandemic continues and the higher level of the price cap in 2022, which was put in place in 2021 to reflect the challenges from the pandemic at the time”.

In December 2021, Heathrow was given permission to raise the passenger charge from £19.60 to £30.19 for this summer.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye claimed the regulator “continues to under-estimate what it takes to deliver a good passenger service, both in terms of the level of investment and operating costs required and the fair incentive needed for private investors to finance it”.

He added there is “still time for the CAA to get this right”, saying: “Uncorrected, these elements of the CAA’s proposal will only result in passengers getting a worse experience at Heathrow as investment in service dries up.”

CAA chief executive Richard Moriarty said the announcement is “about doing the right thing for consumers”.

He insisted the regulator has “listened very carefully” to arguments from Heathrow and airlines.

“Our independent and impartial analysis balances affordable charges for consumers while allowing Heathrow to make the investment needed for the future,” he said.

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