UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has challenged the aviation industry to develop solutions for the expansion of the London Heathrow Airport that provides value for money and benefits passengers.
Grayling laid out the standards for collaboration between airport and airlines regarding the costs and design of a third runway.
He further stated that while ‘expansion is long overdue’, it must be cost-efficient and Heathrow’s customers should not pay for a ‘gold plated’ solution.
Grayling said: “It’s important that airport expansion works for consumers and I want the interests of current and future airport users to shape the plans.
“It remains one of my fundamental priorities to deliver the ambition I set in 2016 – to keep airport charges as close as possible to current levels – so price increases are not passed on to airlines, and ultimately consumers.”
He added that the government has launched a new commission for the independent aviation regulator, the CAA, to supervise meeting between Heathrow and airlines on a new runway.
Following a start in summer, these plans, if they proceed well, will continue until the submission of a formal planning application by the airport.
The CAA will defend the interests of consumers during industry discussions and provide regular updates to the government with regard to the airport’s engagement with airlines and the way passengers will benefit.
Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade said: “Airlines support expansion at Heathrow as it’s best placed to deliver the biggest gains to passengers and the wider economy.
“Expansion is paid for not by Heathrow but by airline customers in the form of charges and Heathrow must not increase these to pay for a disproportionately expensive scheme.”
During the process, airlines will work with Heathrow and the CAA to help shape plans. Additionally, industry experts will be consulted when comparing Heathrow expansion plans with other international airports and major infrastructure projects.