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UK’s CAA to probe Heathrow charges

Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority on Wednesday said it would formally investigate whether the increase in domestic passenger charges at Heathrow airport had unfairly impacted some airlines, especially short-haul carriers, following a complaint by UK airline bmi.

Earlier this year bmi complained to the CAA that Heathrow Airport had “unreasonably discriminated” by equalising domestic and EU passenger charges, basing landing charges solely on noise values and not phasing in changes to its structure of charges over time.

“Following its preliminary investigation, the CAA considers that HAL’s justifications need to be transparently and objectively substantiated. The CAA is now formally investigating HAL’s structure of charges, and invites representations to be sent no later than September 6,” the CAA said in a statement on Wednesday.

From April 2011, the domestic passenger charge at BAA-owned Heathrow rose to more than GBP£20 (USD$32) per passenger from GBP£13, as part of a changed charging structure at Europe’s busiest airport.

Bmi said it had been forced to suspend daily flights between Heathrow and Glasgow in Scotland from the end of March because rises in domestic passenger charges at Heathrow had made the route unsustainable.


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