Heathrow set to reduce domestic passenger charge to improve connectivity

London Heathrow, the UK’s hub airport, has announced plans to reduce the domestic passenger charge for airlines flying from Heathrow by a third, effective January 1, 2016.

A part of the commitments made in response to the National Connectivity Taskforce’s recommendations, the proposed discount – from £29.59 presently to £19.59 – is designed to connect the UK’s regions with growth markets globally. The GBP10 discount for passengers departing Heathrow is expected to make domestic flights more affordable for passengers, though the charges are levied on airlines rather than customers.

While the total airport charges are restricted by the Civil Aviation Authority, the airport said that it will make up for the discount by increasing the airport landing charges related to noise and emissions. The move will also encourage airlines to fly cleaner and quieter planes, it said.

Environmental charges on the dirtiest, noisiest aircraft will increase from 21 percent to 28 percent of total airport charges, with a doubling of the tariff attached to nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions – from £8.57 per kg of NOx to £16.51 per kg of NOx. The noisiest planes will face a trebling in charges to £9,000 per landing, although less than one percent of flights fall into this category.

Heathrow will also cut charges for passengers departing to European destinations by £5.00. This reduction is expected to encourage fuller planes, making more efficient use of constrained hub capacity.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: ‘We’re serious when we say Heathrow is committed to making sure that businesses across Britain can benefit from the connections to growth markets that only the UK’s hub can provide, whilst incentivising only the quietest and cleanest planes to operate from Heathrow.

Our proposal to cut passenger charges by a third for domestic services will help us continue to drive the tourism, exports, inbound tourism and foreign direct investment that supports economic growth across the whole of the UK.’

The airport said that it will also maintain a 25 percent discount on departing passenger charges for passengers transferring through Heathrow to retain its role as the nation’s only hub airport – the UK’s gateway to the world and the world’s gateway to the UK.