Stansted: Ryanair boss slams CAA proposals on airport charges

Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport - Credit: Archant

AVIATION regulators today unveiled plans for major changes in the way airlines are charged for using London’s three main airports, including Stansted.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said its proposals would mean airlines paying less to use Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted in the five years to 2019 compared with the current five-year pricing regime which ends in 2014.

This should, in turn, limit the increases in fares paid by passengers, added the CAA, which has faced criticism from airlines over what they see as excessive charges under the current pricing formula.

From 2014, the CAA proposes that charges at Heathrow should be capped at 1.3% below Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation, compared with RPI plus 7.5% at present, while at Gatwick, charges will be capped at RPI plus 1%, against the current RPI plus 2%.

At Stansted, however, the CAA plans to adopt a new form of regulation, in the form of monitoring charges and service quality. The CAA said this would ensure passengers were protected while minimising the regulatory burden, although it warned that it might re-impose more detailed regulation if prices at Stansted failed to come down over time.


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This is the first review to take place with the three regulated airports under separate management, with the former BAA group having been ordered by the Competition Commission to sell Gatwick and Stansted.

A spokesman at Stansted, which was acquired earlier this year by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), said yesterday: “The CAA’s initial proposals set out a new way of regulating Stansted ... and we will need to study the details carefully and discuss them with the CAA before responding to the consultation.”

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However, Ryanair said that the CAA’s proposal “does nothing to constrain Stansted’s absolute pricing power over its airline users and passengers”.

Mr O’Leary added: “We call on the CAA to require that airport charges at Stansted reduce by the rate of inflation minus 10% every year for the next five years. This will bring charges closer to competitive levels and will result in traffic recovery and growth at Stansted.”

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