Heathrow has slashed the airport charges for passengers on internal routes, as it expands with a new runway while positioning itself as a domestic flight hub.
The discount has been increased by 50pc, and passengers will pay £15 less when flying between UK airports. It will save fliers £40m a year, and Heathrow has committed to keeping it for 20 years, at a cost of more than £750m.
The airport said this saving was part of a raft of measures designed to support the creation of more domestic flights, making the routes more commercially viable for airlines.
Heathrow already has flights to eight cities in the UK, and easyJet and Flybe have suggested they will add more to destinations such as Liverpool and Newquay. It is aiming to have 14 domestic connections when the airport expands in 2025. The airport has also created a £10m fund to provide capital for five new domestic routes.
John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s chief executive, said: “Every corner of our country should be able to benefit from the growth and trade that stems from links to the nation’s hub airport – that’s why Heathrow is making it cheaper to fly within the UK.”
Heathrow is also campaigning for the abolition of air passenger duty on domestic flights, which would save passengers a total of £225m a year, and is lobbying the Government to use new powers created when the UK leaves the European Union to ring-fence slots for domestic flights.
British Airways hit out at Heathrow for this move last year, saying that the airport does not have any standing to control destinations served by the slots. “It’s not in Heathrow’s gift to increase domestic flying from the airport,”said BA’s owner, International Airlines Group. “Airlines, not airports, decide where to fly based on routes’ profitability.”
Willie Walsh, the chief executive of IAG, has previously said that BA would not increase the number of domestic flights from Heathrow unless existing landing charges were cut.