Heathrow Airport profits soar as it asks to charge customers more

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HEATHROW Airport yesterday said its underlying earnings rose 18 per cent in the first half of the year, as it squared up to the aviation regulator about its investment plan.

Europe’s busiest airport said it will only spent £3bn on upgrades over the next five years if it can secure a deal with the Civil Aviation Authority on how much it can charge airlines and, in turn, passengers.

The airport said it will make £427m of operational savings and stick to a maximum yield per passenger of 4.6 per cent above inflation, but said this “is conditional on fair and reasonable final proposals from the CAA”.

The CAA initially planned to cap Heathrow’s yields at RPI minus 1.3 per cent but has since offered a more generous deal.

Airlines have previously criticised Heathrow for its aeronautical charges, which rose 15.7 per cent during the six-month period.

The airport posted pre-tax profits of £186m for the first six months of the year, from a £51m loss at the same point last year. Adjusted earnings rose 18 per cent to £610m, on revenues up 9.2 per cent to £1.15bn.

“We want to build on our achievements and continue that progress over the next five years, which is why we’ve submitted fresh plans to the CAA for a further £3bn of investment, if returns to investors are fair and competitive,” said chief executive Colin Matthews.