Virgin Atlantic to withhold BAA fees

Virgin Atlantic to withhold BAA fees

Virgin Atlantic has stated it will withhold fees due to airport operator BAA in a dispute centred on its “slow reaction” to snow at London Heathrow Airport in December.

Thousands of passengers were stranded at the airport in the build up to Christmas, as BAA failed to clear runways and de-ice planes.

Pictured: Snow closed Heathrow for several days before Christmas

BAA subsequently launched an investigation under the leadership of non-executive director Sir David Begg, with a report expected at the end of March.

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic has said fees – believed to total some £10 million – will be withheld until the completion of the review.


A panel of experts from different airports and airlines will judge BAA’s “planning, execution and recovery”.

British Airways is also believed to be considering its options following the disruption.

The British flag-carrier announced the Christmas disruption cost £50 million on Friday.

BAA says the conditions at Heathrow provided no basis to withhold charges.

Heathrow Airport’s boss Colin Matthews announced in December that he was to forgo his bonus as he focussed on rebuilding confidence in the airport.

In response BAA could impound Virgin planes for non-payment of fees.

However, the operator said it would work with airlines during the Begg inquiry.