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Virgin Atlantic CEO Urges “Level Playing Field” at Heathrow

Virgin Atlantic CEO Urges “Level Playing Field” at Heathrow
Jackie Reddy

The master plan for the expansion of London’s Heathrow Airport has just been revealed this week, but Virgin Atlantic has already voiced its concern over how slots will be allocated at the eventually expanded facility. Specifically, it singled-out IAG for holding the majority of the airport’s slots.

The master plan for the expansion of London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) has only been revealed this week, but Virgin Atlantic has already raised its concerns over how take-off and landing slots at the eventually expanded facility will be allocated.

More specifically, as Virgin chief executive Shai Weiss was quoted by City A.M. as saying in a letter to a transport committee sitting in the British Parliament, “As things stand, International Airlines Group holds over 55 per cent of all take-off and landing slots at Heathrow, with no other airlines having more than five per cent of capacity.”

International Airlines Group (IAG) is, of course, the parent company of Iberia and British Airways (BA).

Further explaining his point, Weiss said, “One group’s stranglehold on out nation’s hub airport means that all other airlines do not compete effectively on anything approaching a level playing field and passengers are paying the price.”

The expansion of London Heathrow, he added “offers a genuine once in a lifetime opportunity to shake up the market in favor of creating strong competition…”

Weiss also explained that he felt that the policy governing the allocation of landing and take-off slots at the facility needed to be changed in-line with its expansion.

Offering a rebuttal, a spokesperson for IAG was quoted as saying that, “Cost effective expansion of Heathrow will enable more airlines to fly from the airport and we welcome the additional competition.”

They added that slot allocation at the airport would only be completed using guidance from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

[Featured Image: Heathrow Hub]

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