CAA sets out expectations to Heathrow Airport for delivering a new runway

  • Regulator writes to chief executive of Heathrow Airport setting out clear expectations for delivery of the new runway, following Government announcement
  • Value for money and cost efficiency will be crucial to the process
  • Airport must manage the legitimate concerns of local communities

Following the Government's announcement of Heathrow as its preferred location for a new runway, the CAA has today written to John Holland-Kaye, the airport's chief executive, setting out its expectations for the efficient delivery of this new infrastructure.

As the UK's independent aviation regulator, the CAA has consistently made the case for additional aviation capacity to prevent consumers facing less choice, lower service quality and higher airfares in the future. The regulator has also been clear that any new capacity must consider the legitimate needs and concerns of affected local communities.  The CAA now has a role to play in determining how much Heathrow can charge airlines, and ultimately consumers, for the building and financing of the project.

The regulator has emphasised to Heathrow the importance of the airport making it clear how it will deliver on its recent promises not to increase prices as the runway development progresses.  The CAA expects to see effective engagement between the airport and its airline customers to drive value for money and efficiency.  The regulator has also told the airport to set out clear plans for engaging with local communities and addressing their legitimate concerns around issues such as compensation, operational procedures and participation in the airspace change process.

Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of the CAA, said:

“The need for additional aviation capacity is clear and we welcome the Government's announcement.  We now expect Heathrow to set out how it will meet its promise not to increase prices and deliver a cost efficient programme in conjunction with its airline customers.  We also expect the airport to ensure the legitimate concerns of communities near the airport are properly and fully considered and that a credible package of measures to manage those concerns is in place.” 

As well as setting the maximum amount the airport can charge airlines and also establishing minimum service standards for the airport, the CAA also has other roles to play.  These include implementing Government policy on airspace changes to ensure the best balance is reached between safety, efficiency and community impact; and that the design and operation of the new runway meets the required safety standards.

The CAA has published a number of policy documents relating to the principles it has established for its approach to the required economic regulation. This includes a consultation on how the chosen scheme can recover planning and construction costs and we expect to publish our final proposals for this shortly.  Further consultation documents will be published in the coming months.

For media enquiries contact the CAA Press Office on 00 44 (0)207 453 6030 or You can follow the CAA on Twitter @UK_CAA.


Notes to editors 

  • The letter sent by the CAA to Heathrow Airport is available from the CAA website.
  • More information on the CAA's economic regulation role in new airport capacity is available in this In Focus document.
  • The CAA is the UK's aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.