Virgin Atlantic has responded to IAG’s calls for more third parties to be allowed to operate facilities at Heathrow, but says IAG must also be willing to allow for more airline competition at the airport.

IAG boss Willie Walsh said the group had written to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to petition for greater competition on the operation of Heathrow’s facilities in order to keep passenger costs down as the airport prepares for expansion.

Echoing the statement, a spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic said: “We agree with Willie Walsh that Heathrow’s track record of delivering capital projects on time and on budget is not good enough. That’s why we have called for a Passenger Cost Guarantee; ensuring passengers don’t foot the bill for expansion through higher charges.”

However, commenting on the fact that 54.7 per cent of the airport’s take-off and landing slots were allocated to BA or another IAG airline, the spokesperson added: “Willie is absolutely right to be concerned about a monopoly at Heathrow – what he fails to mention is that IAG operates more than half of Heathrow’s slots, so there are many routes that are only served by one of his airlines. Expansion must deliver a significant increase in airline competition to provide the choice and value that passengers deserve. Virgin Atlantic stands ready to play our part alongside other carriers.”

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