CAA probes Heathrow’s charge rise

Kasmira Jefford
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BRITAIN’S airport regulator has launched a full investigation into whether Heathrow’s passenger charges have unfairly impacted short-haul carriers, following a complaint by airline British Midland International.

The Civil Aviation Authority said yesterday that it would open an extended inquiry into Heathrow’s decision last year to raise the rate for each domestic passenger flying out of the airport by 50 per cent from April.

The move prompted BMI -- which is owned by Lufthansa -- to launch a formal complaint in March over what it called an “outrageous” rise in charges,

BMI said the fees unfairly discriminated by equalising domestic and EU passenger charges, and basing landing charges solely on noise values.

The CAA said it will now review Heathrow’s charging structure and has invited representations from interested parties by September.

The airline, which welcomed the CAA’s response said: “BMI maintains that BAA’s increase in domestic charges at London Heathrow will unfairly and unreasonably discriminate against domestic passengers.”