Virgin denies BAA fees over snow chaos

VIRGIN Atlantic has stopped payments to London Heathrow airport’s owner, questioning BAA’s competency during the UK’s severe pre-Christmas snowfall.

This winter was the UK’s coldest in 100 years and snow caused cancelled flights at Heathrow for four days and delayed many more. Virgin and other airlines operating out of the airport lost millions of pounds due to the closures.

“We have written to BAA this weekend to advise them that we are withholding our fees,” Virgin said in a statement. “We are keen that BAA also feels a strong sense of accountability to the consumer and that minds are focused on delivering a fully independent and robust inquiry.”

British Airways, the largest operator at Heathrow, said the weather cost it £50 million although it has shied away from saying whether it too will target BAA for compensation.

The Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) added its voice to those airlines demanding recompense for the chaos.

BAR’s chief executive officer, Mike Carrivick, said: “There were airlines all over Europe and the near Middle East trying to get to London that were left out of position, and therefore not earning revenue.”

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