How airports make money

I had not realized that London’s Heathrow airport was a fully privately owned, profit-seeking enterprise. This video explains what it costs to run the airport, how the company covers the costs, and how the need to make a profit changes the way that the airport is structured and the kinds of flights and destinations that are available, compared to airports that are run by governments.

The US has not privatized its major airports and efforts to do so with smaller ones have not been a success.


  1. jrkrideau says

    @1 Tabby Lavalamp

    I didn’t even bother to check. Thatcher would have privatized the Palace of Westminster if she could have.

    At least, Heathrow seems to have survived okay. The privatization of British Rail seems to be an ongoing fiasco.

  2. Matt G says

    I spent the night at the Geneva, Switzerland airport two nights ago because I accidentally bought a ticket with a 12-hour layover (which happened to be in the middle of the night). There were at least 75 people doing the same thing. Unfortunately, the gate waiting areas shut down until 4AM, so we all stayed out by the ticket counter. I had assumed the whole place would be open 24 hours at such a major airport. The airport got some food and cosmetics money from us, but local hotels got nothing!

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