Heathrow shareholders will receive a windfall of over £500 million in dividend payments, despite the airport’s calls for more public money to fund improved road and rail connections as part of its plans for a third runway.
Transport for London, which has been excluded from the Department for Transport’s working group on surface access to Heathrow, has estimated that the costs of necessary road and railway upgrades to the airport could be as high as £15bn, but Heathrow has said it will spend only £1bn, potentially placing a huge demand on the taxpayer to make up the difference.
With MPs promised a vote in the coming months on the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement, which would give the greenlight to Heathrow expansion, the Department for Transport has still not said publicly which surface access costs will be funded from the public purse
Commenting on the news of Heathrow’s dividend payments, Richmond Park and North Kingston MP Zac Goldsmith, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Heathrow expansion, said: “For Heathrow to award such a giant dividend now, when they haven’t even begun to reassure Parliament that it can finance the third runway without needing billions in public money is the very height of corporate arrogance. Even its biggest customer, BA, has publicly warned MPs that Heathrow will need a blank cheque for the third runway. Heathrow is exhibiting all the confidence of a giant foreign-owned multinational that believes it has total control over our Government.”