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Heathrow expansion under more scrutiny as Grayling broadens regulator's oversight

The Government has piled more pressure on Heathrow to keep a lid on its expansion costs after broadening powers which enable the aviation regulator to more closely scrutinise the airport’s plans.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) would now be able to seek views on the expansion of Heathrow from a wider pool and would also be able to benchmark the price of the project against international comparisons.
The CAA had already been reporting to Mr Grayling on a quarterly basis on how Heathrow was engaging with airlines over its proposed third runway scheme.
But those oversight powers, which ended last month and have now been renewed, will see the regulator able to get the views of airlines which don’t yet operate from the airport. Furthermore, Mr Grayling said it would go further in trying to achieve value for money by “ensuring expansion plans are benchmarked against international comparators”.
The Government said the dialogue between Heathrow and airlines had led to the ?2.5bn in savings which Heathrow announced last year after it altered its plans.
Heathrow expansion under more scrutiny as Grayling broadens regulator's oversight

Willie Walsh, the boss of British Airways owner IAG, has welcomed the move by the Government to benchmark the cost of Heathrow's expansion against other global airports

Credit:
Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters
The boss of British Airways owner IAG, Willie Walsh, said Mr Grayling’s challenge to Heathrow to keep expansion costs low “could not be more stark”.
“Heathrow is a monopoly with a history of gold-plating facilities and very high airport charges,” he said.
“Benchmarking its cost proposals against similar schemes is critical and very welcome. It is imperative that Heathrow provides a full, detailed cost breakdown for expansion before Parliament votes on it this summer.”
This comes as Heathrow Hub, the rival expansion scheme proposed by former Concorde pilot Jock Lowe, has submitted a formal complaint about the airport to the Competition and Markets Authority.
Heathrow expansion under more scrutiny as Grayling broadens regulator's oversight

Jock Lowe has formally complained to the Competition and Markets Authority about what he claims was a decision by Heathrow to veto his rival scheme

Credit:
Heathcliff O'Malley
Heathrow Hub contends the airport “unfairly vetoed” its extended northern runway plan and failed to confirm that it would work with Mr Lowe’s team if his scheme was selected by the Government.
Mr Lowe said: “Our scheme is cheaper, quicker, quieter and easier to build than the third runway. After years of trying to work cooperatively with Heathrow Airport and the Department for Transport, we have decided it is time to take the gloves off.
“The consequence of Heathrow’s veto and the flawed process run by the DfT is that consumers and airlines are being saddled with its unnecessarily complex, noisy and expensive third runway which will take years to build.”
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