Heathrow sees more support for new runway

 
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HEATHROW Airport said support is building for its ambition to build a third runway, as its earnings soared following a one-off bump in airline fees.

Britain’s busiest airport will submit its latest proposal for a new runway on 14 May, in a bid to convince the government’s Davies Commission that Heathrow should be allowed to expand.

“It will take into account the recent public consultation polls,” finance boss Jose Leo told City A.M. “The need to have capacity is clear in our view and there are more and more stakeholders turning to this view.”

Heathrow said yesterday that its adjusted earnings in the first three months of the year jumped 31.8 per cent to £319m, reflecting in part an 18.3 per cent rise in airline fees.

Leo said the increase in charges, which now amount to £22.20 per passenger, is due to the airport recovering the last of the fees it can charge during its five-year regulatory period, which ended on 1 April.

Heathrow will be limited to fee increases 1.5 per cent below inflation for the next five years, and the airport is freezing management pay this year and working on a “number of initiatives” to rein in costs that will be detailed later this year.

Costs fell 7.6 per cent in the quarter, thanks to a mild winter and less money spent on staff. Revenues rose 10.8 per cent to £576m, and pre-tax losses, including financing costs, narrowed to £15m, from £96m a year ago.

Heathrow is continuing its search for a replacement for chief executive Colin Matthews.

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