German flag-carrier Lufthansa has joined Virgin Atlantic in pressing BAA to compensate airlines hit by disruption at London Heathrow Airport over the festive season.
Planes were grounded for up to four days before Christmas, as facilities at Europe’s busiest airport ground to a halt.
Yesterday Virgin Atlantic confirmed it would withhold payments due to BAA – believed to total approximately £10 million – until the airport operator completes an internal review into the incident.
Today Lufthansa – which, in conjunction with subsidiary BMI, is the second largest carrier at the airport behind British Airways – added its weight to the call for compensation.
In an interview with the Financial Times a Lufthansa spokesperson said: “The airport should make an offer on how to compensate for the delayed reopening.
Lufthansa also called on BAA to explain how it would better handle any future heavy snow.
BMI said in a separate statement it had “assessed the costs incurred as a result of the snow disruption at London Heathrow and we will now enter into discussions about compensation”.
British Airways said late last week it had lost £50 million as a result of disruption caused by snow over the festive season.
BAA has been criticised following the closure of the airport.
A lack of investment in preparations for snow was exposed during the incident, with nearby Gatwick Airport able to remain open despite similar weather conditions.
Gatwick was sold by BAA to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the owners of London City Airport, for £1.51 billion in 2009.
BAA is expected to report a financial impact from the snow of between £20m and £25m.
Heathrow Airport’s boss Colin Matthews has also announced he would forgo his bonus as he focussed on rebuilding confidence in the airport.