Airlines threaten to leave London City Airport if new owner raises fees


After British Airways, CityJet and Flybe in turn threaten to leave London City airport if the new owner increases the charges.

As candidates for the purchase of the airport closest to central London have until Friday to come forward, two users have added their threats to those of the British flagship airline. Representing between them 70% of the traffic in London City (with 29 routes for British Airways and its subsidiary Cityflyer, eleven for CityJet and eight for Flybe), they are concerned that the sale price set at 2 billion pounds will force the new owner to increase airport fees. CityJet boss Pat Byrne in the Evening Standard wonders about “long-term profitability of operations” in London City ; a spokesman for the IAG group on his side warned that “any new owner of the airport should have no doubt about the ability of British Airways to move its flights elsewhere if costs increase.”

The US fund Global Infrastructure Partners, the current owner of London City, bought it ten years ago for 750 million pounds. It fixed February 19 as the deadline for the deposit of purchase applications. Five parties have expressed interest, including Chinese group HNA (Hainan Airlines and Aigle Azur among others), a consortium including Kuwait and Hermes, and the richest man in Asia, Li Ka-Shing.