Heathrow hopes to charge cars £5 and…

Heathrow hopes to charge cars £5 and increase passenger charge by £1.20 (then pay dividend again in 2022)
2020-12-08 15:12:00
It seems Heathrow will lose around £1.5 billion this year, due to Covid and a drop of around 8% in passenger numbers.  The airport is hoping to impose a £5 “drop off” charge on any car coming into the airport to deposit or collect passengers, from the end of 2021 (blue badges and emergency vehicles excluded). There is a consultation about this.  Heathrow says it will “save jobs in the short term” while allowing the airport to hit its “long-term goals of providing safe, sustainable and affordable transport options”. (!) A much more effective way to boost its income is to increase its passenger charge, which is currently £21 per person. The intention is to increase it by £1.20, which could add £2.7bn to the airport’s regulated asset base (RAB), allowing it to increase charges (already, at £21 per head, among the highest in Europe). The airlines are vociferously opposed to this, understandably.  Heathrow is leveraged, with its consolidated net debt at £15.2bn in September 2020. But a key reason for all the borrowing is it has paid out £4 billion of dividends to its investors since 2012. There was a £500 payment announced in February 2020, and a £100m payment in April. Heathrow has now said it will not pay dividends for the rest of 2020, or 2021 but hopes to pay out £400 million in 2022. .Tweet   Heathrow’s running out of runway By Jonathan Ford (Financial Times) 8th December  2020 There seems no end to the inventiveness of Heathrow when it comes to devising new charges to slap on customers, writes Jonathan Ford. Take the latest moneymaking wheeze from London’s main airport — facing £1.5bn of losses this year because of an 80 per cent drop in passengers. That is to impose a £5 “drop off” charge on any car coming into the airport to deposit or collect passengers. It might seem a bit steep to those who have no option but to enter the seventh circle of hell that connects the airport’s various terminals. But no matter; it’s all in a good cause. Heathrow’s head of surface access, Tony Caccavone, thinks the levy will “save jobs in the short term” while allowing the airport to hit its “long-term goals of providing safe, sustainable and affordable transport options”. Of course, the car charge is a mere amuse bouche compared with the main course — a proposed big increase in the charges Heathrow levies on passengers to offset the losses it faces from Covid-19. This would add £2.7bn to the airport’s regulated asset base, allowing it to increase charges (already, at £21 per head, among the highest in Europe) by another 10%. It is fair to say that the airlines, which have been frantically deleveraging this year, are less than impressed with Heathrow’s planned whip round. The airport is not only eye-wateringly leveraged — consolidated net debt was £

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