Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd

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Heathrow Airport Holdings is the operator of Heathrow Airport. The company makes money from charging landing fees to airlines and, increasingly, from ancillary operations within those airports such as retail and property.
The company's head office is located in The Compass Centre on the grounds of Heathrow Airport in the London Borough of Hillingdon.

See also: Department for Transport#Aviation and Airports



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As BAA, the company also operated Gatwick Airport and London Stansted Airport, plus several other UK airports. It was formed by the privatisation of the British Airports Authority as BAA plc as part of Margaret Thatcher's moves to privatise govt-owned assets.

  • 2012: Heathrow Airport Holdings: the company was renamed to reflect its main business.
  • Mar.2009: The Competition Commission required BAA plc to sell Gatwick and Stansted airports and, over the following years, sold all its airports other than Heathrow.
  • 2006: BAA plc was bought by a consortium led by Ferrovial SA, a Spanish firm specialising in the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of transport, urban and services infrastructure.

See also Privatisation Policy#Aerospace + Airports + Global Infrastructure Partners

SE Third Runway

  • Jun.05.2018: Heathrow: Grayling to confirm final plan for third runway. Transport secretary will set out proposals amid growing rift over expansion scheme. Downing Street is understood to be considering allowing MPs with constituency interests to dissent locally, while vocal opponents such as Boris Johnson and the international trade minister, Greg Hands, could be permitted to miss the vote by being out of the country on official business. Justine Greening is a leading critic of the third runway who is lobbying No 10 and the whips for a free vote. She also raised concerns over the costs of the scheme, which critics said could cost up to £15bn in new rail links. About 30 Tory MPs oppose the govt’s plans, which are broadly supported by the Democratic Unionist party, the Scottish National party and scores of Labour MPs. Tory MP Zac Goldsmith forced a by-election over his party’s support for expansion, has said he will vote against. He said "“The odds have always been in Heathrow’s favour because they have unprecedented, unhealthy access to govt. But they’re weaker now than they have ever been". Shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn and a longstanding opponent of a third runway, has said he could not see any way Heathrow could meet the tests. However, Labour’s largest union backer, Unite, is a firm supporter of the third runway and the benefits it would bring in terms of jobs, economic growth and increased capacity. Pippa Crerar, The Guardian.
  • Oct.25.2017: Heathrow third runway consultation reopened after new evidence. Transport department publishes new noise analysis and air quality plan, with public consultation now open until Dec.19. The govt’s sustainability appraisal expects the plans to have a negative effect on air quality, noise and biodiversity. It also says that the Gatwick 2nd runway scheme would cause less damage than either potential scheme at Heathrow. London’s airports are forecast to be full by the mid-2030s with Heathrow already operating at capacity and Gatwick at capacity during peak times. This has left the govt with the dilemma of either being framed as anti-business if it does not act to address capacity, or anti-environment if it goes ahead with expansion. This may also undermine efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% on 1990 levels by 2050, as legislated by the Climate Change Act. Department for Transport, Chris Grayling, Aviation Environment Federation campaign group. The govt supports a 3rd runway at Heathrow. Mattha Busby, The Guardian.
  • Oct.25.2016: Heathrow airport expansion gets government approval. A third runway is to be built at Heathrow, the government has decided, paving the way for hundreds of thousands more flights a year. Transport secretary Chris Grayling hails ‘truly momentous’ move but widespread protests and legal challenges are expected to follow decision. He told the HoC: “Even with expansion, fewer people will be affected by aircraft noise than today". It is understood Justine Greening, the education secretary, will restate her opposition to Heathrow expansion in a statement for constituents later on Tuesday afternoon. Under the terms of Theresa May’s limited suspension of collective responsibility, Greening will be able to continue expressing her discontent with the decision without actively campaigning against it. Boris Johnson said he would continue to oppose Heathrow’s expansion. Zac Goldsmith, Tory MP for Richmond Park, said he would honour his threat to resign and trigger a byelection in his seat. Sadiq Khan accused the govt of “running roughshod over Londoners’ views”. Hacan, Airports Commission, CAA, airline trade body BATA, British Airways, CBI, Louise Ellman, Jonathan Bartley, Campaign to Protect Rural England. Heathrow’s is owned by a range of sovereign investment funds, including Qatar, Singapore and China, a consortium led by Spanish firm Ferrovial, and Canadian pension funds. Gwyn Topham, Rowena Mason, JessicaElgot, The Guardian.
  • Aug.10.2015: Airports Commission chairman accused of conflict of interest over third Heathrow runway. A study which called for a £17.6bn 3rd runway at Heathrow came under fire today amid claims that its chairman had conflicts of interest. Sir Howard Davies worked for one of the main owners of the airport, the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore, immediately before becoming chairman of the Airports Commission. And since 2010 he has been an independent non-executive director of the Prudential and chairman of the Risk Committee. However, he resigned both positions in September 2012 on taking the unpaid chairmanship of the govt-commissioned Airports Commission and had no financial interest in the firm. Its subsidiary M&G Real Estates is involved in property around Heathrow. Meanwhile, Sir Howard is waiting to take up chairmanship of the Royal Bank of Scotland, the lead banker for the companies that own Gatwick and Heathrow. Teddington Action Group (TAG) said: "The Commission's work has been held up by the govt as a truly independent review of the country's future aviation strategy. £20m of taxpayer's money has been spent on the Commission and we now demand answers: what information did Sir Howard declare prior to his appointment and how much did the govt know when they appointed him? Sir Howard, a former head of the CBI, was paid $50,000 a year as an adviser to GIC's Investment Strategy Committee from 2009. In 2011 he joined its International Advisory Board. However, he resigned both positions in Sept.2012 on taking the unpaid chairmanship of the govt-commissioned Airports Commission and had no financial interest in the firm. The Government Legal Department said Sir Howard was not remunerated by M&G but by the Prudential on a fixed fee basis. The Sunday Express.


  • Sept.18.2018: Heathrow and Arora admit to anti-competitive car park agreement. Heathrow airport will pay a £1.6m fine for restricting competition on parking prices in a lease with Arora, the operator of a Terminal 5 hotel. The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) investigated the airport's agreement with the Arora Group, which included a clause restricting how parking prices should be set by Arora for non-hotel guests. Arora escaped a penalty after being granted immunity by the CMA for bringing the matter to its attention under a “leniency programme”. The breach relates to a 2005 lease between Heathrow and Arora, the operator of the Sofitel hotel at what is now Terminal 5. The Sofitel has a car park that is open to hotel and non-hotel guests. The lease contained a provision that prevented Arora from charging non-hotel guests less than the charges Heathrow levied elsewhere at the airport. The CMA said such a provision was anti-competitive... Competition & Markets Authority, Gov.uk.
  • Jun.23.2018: Heathrow plan isn’t taking off just yet. Modelling yourself on “an inverted pyramid of piffle” takes effort. But at least Boris Johnson is giving it a go. The foreign secretary vowed to “lie down in front of bulldozers” to stop a third runway at Heathrow. He’s not even brave enough to lie down in front of the Tory whips — going Awol for Monday’s Heathrow vote. Greg Hands showed him how to do it, resigning from govt on principle. Isn’t the £14bn runway all about drumming up international trade: a project to “better connect the UK to the rest of the world”, as transport secretary Chris Grayling put it this month. So what’s the trade minister doing quitting over it — even if he is MP for Chelsea and Fulham? ... Or will it just be the eye-watering costs and the dawning realisation that the owners of Heathrow aren’t prepared to pay their fair share? It’s not just Willie Walsh, boss of British Airways-owner IAG, who finds the costs “exorbitant and unacceptably vague”. Does anyone really believe Heathrow can deliver on its pledge to fund a £14 billion project without jacking up passenger charges? Heathrow is already the most highly geared airport company on planet Earth: the legacy of the Ferrovial consortium’s debt-laden BAA buy in 2006. It cost £16 billion, including debts, financed by just £4 billion of equity. Since then, ownership has widened, via sovereign wealth funds from the likes of Qatar and China. But consultant Martin Blaiklock is hardly alone in wondering why Heathrow has such an opaque, “multi-layer” corporate structure if it’s not “a construct to minimise tax”. There are 8 companies between the top one, FGP Topco, and the regulated operating company Heathrow Airport Ltd, with most of the £14bn in debt funded by bonds issued by an offshore Jersey company. Heathrow says it’s invested £12bn since 2006 — earning it a corporation tax deferral until the Terminal 2 upgrade was finished in 2015. Since then it’s paid £137mn in tax. Contrast that with the £3bn in dividends paid to investors. more Alistair Osborne, The Times.
  • Mar.22.2018: Heathrow third runway may lead to economic loss of £2bn. The benefits of building the £14bn runway have been exaggerated and may lead to a net economic loss of £2.2bn, research by the New Economic Foundation think tank found. The study, which was commissioned by the No Third Runway Coalition, is based on govt data. The report suggests that the loss would be borne by the airport’s shareholders or, more likely, airline passengers and even the govt, and argues that plans for a 2nd runway at Gatwick offer better value for money. A spokeswoman for Heathrow said the report was “fundamentally flawed” because it used an analysis for publicly funded projects, and "Heathrow is not one of those". Graeme Paton, The Times.
  • Mat.13.2018: True cost of Heathrow third runway must be revealed, say MPs. The true cost to the public of building a 3rd runway at Heathrow has not been spelled out to taxpayers, according to a cross-party group of MPs, who warn that domestic flight connections and other transport spending will be jeopardised. Additionally, more than £10bn in additional rail and road spending to support a bigger airport would be laid on the public purse. The govt's Airports CommissionWikipedia-W.svg has forecast – and airlines fear – significant price rises to pay for it. Transport for London has estimated that the bill for additional rail and road infrastructure around an expanded Heathrow could be £15bn. Justine Greening, Vince Cable. Gwyn Topham, The Guardian.

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