Willie Walsh, Chief Executive of IAG, owner of British Airways has issued a further warning to the new owners of London City that moves to raise landing charges for the airlines operating form the airport will be resisted.
“We like the airport and we like operating out of it but not at any cost. The airport is good, there’s good demand for it, but the off peak demand is very price sensitive, and there’s no way you can serve that sort of demand if it’s very expensive to operate from there.”
London City airport (LCY) was sold to a Canadian consortium for a reported £2bn (see news February 26).
At the time of the deal, Declan Collier, CEO, London City Airport said:
“London City Airport is a successful business with huge opportunities for growth – opportunities that will create jobs, generate more benefit for the UK economy and build new connections to and from London to commercial centres around the world.”
Global Infrastructure Partners bought LCY in 2006 for around £750 million, and a record 4.3 million passengers used the airport last year.
Speaking on the inaugural flight to San Jose today (see review here) Walsh said:
“They paid a high price. It’s a good airport, but it’s as expensive as Heathrow in terms of passenger charges. The reason it has grown so strongly is because of us. We are the number one operator from there. We have 18 aircraft there. It’s principally a leisure airport, but there’s only so much you can do for leisure flights.”
“We’d have no problem moving away from London City. There’s no way we’re going to be held hostage there and if the charges go up we’ll move the aircraft. That’s the great thing about aircraft – they’re portable, you can take them somewhere else.”