London Heathrow T5. PHOTO: Wikimedia.

LONDON — The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned the UK over the financing of expansion at London Heathrow.

IATA’s Rafael Schvartzman, who is the Regional Vice President for Europe welcomed the Heathrow expansion but warns that passengers and airlines shouldn’t have to foot the bill.

The British Government won the House of Commons vote in favor of the National Policy Statement on airports by 415 votes to 119, a majority of 296, which approved the £14 billion expansion.

Schvartzman called it a “momentous day for the global air transport network” but he is concerned that the deal could be subsidized by airlines or travelers.

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“It would be a shame if, having waited so long for the fruits of expansion, the UK were to shoot itself in the foot by creating an overpriced, uncompetitive airport. But these benefits will only be safeguarded if the expansion is delivered at a competitive cost,” he added.

“Passengers and airlines must not pay increased charges. Operational flexibility is essential, especially to continue to allow a small number of essential early morning flights,” Schvartzman concluded.

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London Heathrow is now in the further planning approval stage that is required by Parliament before the detailed elements can be put into place. Schvartzman, in particular, is hoping that vital night flights will be a conditional part of the expansion going forward.

Night flights as a whole have been a particularly controversial subject due to noise pollution and also for people living in the vicinity.

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Now that IATA has had their take on the expansion, there will no doubt be pressure applied to the UK government if the bills are given to passengers and airlines.

It will be something to look at and also whether they will be able to successfully lobby for night flights.

As the expansion takes place over the next 10 years, it will be interesting to see what developments will be agreed on and what things will be disregarded as we approach the construction phase of the expansion.