Widespread anger has been sparked in the air travel industry by the Civil Aviation Authority’s decision this week to allow two of London’s busiest hubs to impose large increases in landing fees.
BAA-owned Heathrow and Gatwick airports have been given the green light to raise landing fees by more than 20 per cent in April, prompting concerns that costs will be passed on to passengers – and triggering an appeal for government action.
In a joint statement, the airlines said: "These increases, which will inevitably hurt consumers, follow a substantial increase in charges at Heathrow and Gatwick in the past five years and a doubling of charges at Stansted in the last year."
BAA has claimed that the hike is needed to raise money for upgrading the overstretched airports, in a bid to stem the tide of baggage losses, overcrowding and delays that have left Heathrow and Gatwick customers wholly dissatisfied.
If airlines pass the whole cost onto passengers, an additional £17.90 could be paid for an average return flight at Heathrow, bringing the new landing fees out of kilter with inflation rates and threatening the demand for air travel. *[BAA]: British Airports Authority