CAA asks Heathrow to cut passenger fees

The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority plans to get London Heathrow Airport to reduce its passenger fares over the next five years.

The CAA proposes that Heathrow should reduce its charges each year from the current rate of £30.19 per passenger to £26.31 in 2026. This would equate to an annual reduction of 6% when the impact of inflation is removed.

But Heathrow said the CAA ‘underestimated what it takes to provide good service to passengers’ and warned the proposed reduction in charges would lead to a ‘worse experience’ for travelers using the airport.

CAA Chief Executive Richard Moriarty said: “Today’s announcement is about doing the right thing for consumers. We have listened very carefully to both Heathrow Airport and the airlines who have different views on the future level of charges.

“Our independent and unbiased analysis balances affordable burdens for consumers, while enabling Heathrow to make the necessary investments for the future.”

The proposed new cap on Heathrow’s fees will be the subject of consultations later this summer, with the CAA expected to make a final decision on the cap in the fall.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “The CAA continues to underestimate what it takes to provide a good service to passengers, both in terms of the level of investment and the costs of exploitation required and fair incentive necessary for private investors to finance it.

“Uncorrected, these elements of the CAA’s proposal will only worsen the passenger experience at Heathrow as investment in the service dries up.

“We will take the time to further assess the CAA’s proposal and provide an additional factual response to this latest consultation. There’s still time for CAA to get it right with a plan that puts passengers first and encourages all industry players to work together to better serve the traveling public.

Clive Wratten, CEO of the Business Travel Association, welcomed the CAA’s proposals but added that the price reductions “do not go far enough”.

“CAA’s proposals for Heathrow’s fees are a small step in the right direction,” Wratten said. “We encourage the CAA to go even further. It is clear that Heathrow requires significant investment, but business and leisure customers must be encouraged to travel again.

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