Heathrow has reduced its airport charges for domestic flights by £15, in what it says is the “the biggest discount in the airport’s history”.
The west London hub said that the fee reduction – applicable from the start of the year for all flights to any UK destination from Heathrow – increases its existing domestic discount by 50 per cent.
The airport said that the discount was aimed to boost domestic flights to Heathrow, adding that passengers would save “nearly £40 million a year and over £750 million over the next 20 years” as a result of the discount.
In a statement Heathrow said that it had been “a long-time and ardent campaigner for boosting domestic flights at the UK’s hub and last year committed to keeping a discounted domestic passenger charge for at least the next twenty years as long as it is in the public interest”.
Domestic flights have been coming under increasing pressure from improved Anglo-Scottish rail services – to read Alex McWhirter’s special report on the subject, see Border Crossing in the latest edition of Business Traveller.
The airport said that the latest reduction would make domestic routes more commercially viable for airlines, with the aim of encouraging carriers to add more domestic services at the hub, adding that “airlines like Easyjet and Flybe have already expressed interest in connecting many new cities to Heathrow, including Liverpool, Dundee and Newquay to Heathrow”.
The statement added that the new discount was “one plank in a package of measures Heathrow is implementing to support more flights to UK destinations” – the airport aims to increase domestic connections from eight today “to at least 14 when the airport expands in 2025”.
Other measures include a £10 million fund providing start-up capital for five new domestic routes, as well as campaigning for the abolition of air passenger duty on domestic flights, and urging the government to ring-fence slots at the airport for domestic flights after Brexit.
Commenting on the news Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown said:
“I’m very pleased to see this further reduction in charges, something the Scottish Government has long advocated in our work with Heathrow Airport.
“The fact the airport is going beyond the reduction agreed in the Memorandum of Understanding with the Scottish Government is welcome news for business and leisure passengers, and will help improve Scotland’s connectivity.”
For a special report on the changing face of domestic aviation, see On The Home Front in the June 2017 edition of Business Traveller.