Heathrow passenger charge increase curbed by Civil Aviation Authority

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NS

athroplan to almost double passenger It alleges that airlines using the airport to cover their losses during the pandemic have been reprimanded by the industry regulator.

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NS Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in a consultation document on Tuesday said that London The hub can increase its average charge from a maximum of £22 per passenger to between £24.50 and £34.40.

Heathrow bosses were seeking the right to raise the cap on fees to £43 to allow them to start back a £2.9bn loss since spring last year.

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The initial response to the CAA would be welcomed by airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic who warned that Heathrow’s proposals could add up to £100 to the cost of a family vacation to a long-distance destination.

Former Brijtish Airways boss Willie Walsh, who now heads global airlines industry body IATA, last week called Britain’s Heathrow airport a “greedy monopoly hub” and said its plan to raise airport charges was “outrageous”.

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CAA Chief Executive Richard Moriarty said on Tuesday: “While international air travel is still recovering, setting up price controls for Heathrow Airport against a backdrop of so much uncertainty means we have to adapt our approach.

“Our main objective is to advance the interests of consumers while the industry has faced challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. These initial offers seek to protect consumers from unreasonable charges, and will allow Heathrow to continue making reasonable investments to make the airport flexible, efficient and providing a great experience for passengers.

“We look forward to working with all stakeholders as we refine this package of measures in the coming months before setting out our final proposals next year.”

The new fee regime will come into effect next summer and will last for five years. The CAA also proposed a new interim limit of £30, while talks are on with the airport.

The CAA has also suggested that Heathrow and airlines should put in place a new charging system that equally spreads the risk of slow recovery from the pandemic between airports and airlines.

In her remarks Mae Walsh said it was up to Heathrow’s shareholders to provide the investment after years of dividend payments.

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