BA will never support it, all it serves to do is give precious slots to its competitors.
Besides, as WW pointed out if the third runway gets approved BA's headquarters will need to be knocked down.
Clearly BA will not be supporting such a plan.
I was at a presentation where BA’s Director responsible for airport policy at the time explained the airline’s position on the third runway. From memory it went like this:
IAG and BA want the third runway to be built. However, IAG does not want to pay a disproportionally high share of the cost.
Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) are generating the funding for the third runway from ongoing Heathrow landing fees and passenger handling fees.
IAG has 55% of LHR slots.
IAG will contribute around 55% of the funding for the third runway (see note 1 below).
HAL does not determine LHR slot policy; responsibility for that sits with Airport Co-ordination Ltd (ACL). However, HAL has said that it wants 15% of the new slots created by the third runway to be allocated for services to airports in the UK regions that do not currently have services to LHR: LPL, NWI, HUY, MME, CWL etc. (see note 2 below).
BA does not believe that services to cities in the UK regions will be profitable and is not expecting to operate them.
More recently there has been talk of 15% of total LHR slots being allocated for services to airports in the UK regions that do not currently have services to LHR.
ACL when it allocates the new slots created by the third runway may favour new entrants.
So, IAG expects to be allocated less than 55% of the new slots.
This means IAG is faced with a situation where it pays 55% of the costs of the third runway but is likely to see significantly less than 55% of the benefits. IAG and BA are not comfortable with this.
If the policy on allocating the new slots was to be revised so that IAG carriers contribute to the cost in line with the benefits they receive, IAG will be more comfortable with the way the runway is being funded.
Also, as has been widely reported, IAG believes that the cost of the third runway is excessive. In August WW said “The regulator needs to step in. This is completely unacceptable. The costs are out of control.”
The BA headquarters at Waterside opened in 1998. IAG are located in the same building. If the third runway goes ahead, Heathrow Airport Limited will have to buy the site at market value plus 20%, and cover BA’s moving expenses (see note 3 below). BA and IAG wouldn’t choose to move to a new location, but moving is not a blocker.
So, in short, at the time I saw the presentation:
• IAG want the third runway to be built to enable growth for IAG airlines.
• IAG does not want to pay a disproportionally high share of the cost.
• IAG does not want to pay for a ‘gold-plated’ solution.
• The loss of Waterside is not a blocker
LHR landing fees vary by aircraft weight and passenger handling fees are per-head. Different airlines operate aircraft of different weights and uplift different numbers of passengers, and so the fees they pay as a percentage of the LHR total are not directly in line with the percentage of slots they hold. However, at the presentation the Director said that the IAG contribution to revenue is more or less in line with its 55% share of slots. The actual figures were given, but I don’t remember the detail.
Some might say that HAL wanting 15% of the new slots created by the third runway to be allocated for services to airports in the UK regions that do not currently have services to Heathrow (LPL, NWI, HUY, MME, CWL etc.) is a cynical attempt to gain political support for the project in the UK regions. I could not possibly comment.
UK compulsory purchase compensation in 1994 when HAL wanted to buy my home was, if I remember correctly, market value plus 20% plus moving expenses. There was talk of this changing to market value plus 30%, but I don’t know if it did. I tried to check the current figures on the HMG website, but there are five relevant documents running to many pages and the current figures were not obvious.
Ever since childhood, when I lived within sight of London Airport, I have seldom seen a plane go by and not wished I was on it.”
With apologies to Paul Theroux - ‘The Great Railway Bazaar’