Don’t hike prices, BA’s Walsh warns new City Airport owners

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British Airways will “take its business elsewhere” if City Airport’s new owners jack up prices after a jumbo £2 billion takeover, the boss of the UK flag carrier said today

Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA’s  owner, IAG, said a consortium  led by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan paid a price for the airport which “does not make sense”.

Teachers, Alberta Investment Management and Wren House snapped up the airport today from Global Infrastructure Partners and Highstar Capital after a bidding war.

“It’s foolish,” Walsh said. “Don’t expect us to operate out of the airport at the same levels if they increase prices — we’re not captive customers. If the airport increases charges we will take our business elsewhere. We are the main reason performance has improved at the airport — we are behind the growth of City Airport,” he said. 

BA is the most frequent flyer out of City Airport, popular among jet-setting Canary Wharf executives, and was joined by CityJet and flybe in hitting out at fees. Walsh said the new owners had not yet contacted him. 

 IAG’s profits surged last year, propelled by its takeover of Aer Lingus in August and cheaper fuel costs. Operating profits rose 68% to €2.3 billion (£1.8 billion) and revenues rose 13.3% to €22.9 billion.

A final dividend of 10 cents takes the full-year payout to 20 cents.

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February 27, 2016 |
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