London’s Heathrow Airport and three major airlines lost the bulk of their appeal against an order by the nation’s aviation regulator to cut airline charges by about 20% per passenger next year.
(Bloomberg) — London’s Heathrow Airport and three major airlines lost the bulk of their appeal against an order by the nation’s aviation regulator to cut airline charges by about 20% per passenger next year.
The Competition and Markets Authority, Britain’s antitrust watchdog, said on Tuesday that the Civil Aviation Authority’s decision to lower charges for airlines using the airport was “not wrong on most of the issues,” according to its statement. However, it ordered the CAA to reconsider three parts of its pricing decision without specifying what they were.
The initial ruling by the CAA had left both airlines and the operator of the biggest UK hub dissatisfied. The carriers had wanted charges to be lowered, while Heathrow Airport sought to collect higher fees.
In a statement following Tuesday’s decision, British Airways parent IAG SA said “Heathrow’s charges remain among the highest in the world and are not competitive,” while Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. said it was “disappointed” by the outcome, and that the decision “did not go far enough to protect consumers from excessive charges at Heathrow.”
The airport, for its part, said it’s “ naturally disappointed, but it’s time to move on.”
Heathrow and the world’s biggest airlines have clashed over the charges, which are among the highest globally. The CAA said in March the levy should drop to £25.43 ($30.98) per passenger in 2024 from £31.57. British Airways, Delta Air Lines Inc., and Virgin Atlantic had also appealed the ruling.
“The CAA’s Heathrow price control struck broadly the right balance between ensuring prices for passengers are not too high and encouraging investors to maintain and improve the airport over time,” CMA executive Kirstin Baker said in the statement. However, she added “there are a handful of smaller issues we have ordered the CAA to look at again and it has agreed to do this swiftly.”
(Updates with comments from airlines, airport from fourth paragraph.)
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