Heathrow's confident of keeping airport charges 'close to current levels' during expansion as first-half earnings fly

Rebecca Smith
The London airport has been regularly topping its passenger records
The London airport has been regularly topping its passenger records (Source: Getty)

Heathrow said today it is making "good progress" towards meeting the task set by the government to deliver expansion without bumping up airport charges as it unveiled solid first-half results.

Read more: Government says Heathrow vote will be pushed back until next year

The figures

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) rose 6.9 per cent to £835m from £781m this time last year, which the airport said reflected "renewed strengthening of retail momentum". Revenue rose 4.1 per cent to £1.4bn.

London's biggest airport reported a 3.9 per cent rise in passengers to 37.1m for the six months up to 30 June and retail revenue per passenger up 7.6 per cent too at £8.43.

Why it's interesting

Although Heathrow expansion got a long-awaited go-ahead in October last year, there are many hoops still to jump through before construction of the third runway gets underway. The update today - that Heathrow is busy working with airlines to drum up creative ways to reduce the cost of the expansion - reflects the work to be done to meet the government's targets.

The airport said it was confident of delivering the project affordably, and its airline partners now expected to grow their businesses faster than Heathrow expected, so there was a possibility of being able to spread the cost of expansion among more passengers using the airport.

As it waits for capacity constraints to be relieved, the airport has been overtaken as the European airport with the best direct connectivity, but has still unveiled new developments, such the announcement earlier this month to ensure Crossrail services will go to Terminal 5 too.

Before Heathrow expansion gets underway, it will need to pass a parliamentary vote next year, and then be approved by planners. Earlier this month, transport secretary Chris Grayling said the final airports national policy statement would go before parliament in the first half of next year; a delay on the original plan for winter 2017/18.

What the company said

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow, said:

Heathrow’s strong start to 2017 is a boon for Britain – our passengers are getting better value and service, more British trade is flying high on new trading links and our expansion plans are on track.

The government set us the challenge to expand Britain’s hub while keeping airport charges close to current levels. Working with airlines, we are making good progress to meet this challenge whilst delivering all our local commitments and the global connections our country needs.

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