UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published (12-Mar-2012) its decision on a complaint by BMI about the structure of airport charges at London Heathrow International Airport, stating that following an investigation launched in Jul-2011 and a public hearing, the CAA has not found evidence London Heathrow's charges were unreasonably discriminatory against short-haul airlines and domestic passengers. However, the CAA said, “Heathrow should be alert to harm arising in the future and ensure that, in reviewing its structure of charges, it ensures it continues to avoid abusing its position of significant market power.” [more - original PR]
UK CAA outlines decision on complaint by BMI on structure of airport charges at London Heathrow
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AENA: Spain's airport operator must cut charges, but airline yields are already falling
After much delay, in late Jan-2017 the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the airport regulation document setting AENA's airport charges for the next five years. The headline numbers include a 2.2% annual decline in charges from 2017 to 2021, equivalent to an overall cut of 11% through the period.
The legal framework prevents tariff increases before 2025, but the outcome was in contrast with the Spanish airport group's own proposal to freeze charges. Strong traffic growth of 11% to an all time high level of 230 million passengers in 2016 may have influenced the regulator's decision.
In response, AENA has decided to remove an incentive mechanism which rewards airlines for traffic growth with airport charge discounts. The removal of discounts is estimated to offset the 11% reduction by one third.
In fact, this discount scheme has been quite effective in stimulating traffic growth in recent years. However, traffic growth in Spain was also boosted in 2016 by high airline capacity growth switched from other (risk) markets. Airline yield declines are probably noticeably heavier than AENA's regulated price reduction.
Brexit and aviation: still no clarity, even as UK government sets timeframe and broad principles
Over seven months after the UK voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, the longer term impact on aviation remains uncertain. The UK Prime Minister Theresa May will almost certainly gain parliamentary authority to trigger Article 50 by her planned deadline of the end of Mar-2017, taking the UK out of the EU by Mar-2019.
On 17-Jan-2017 Mrs May set out 12 principles which will guide the UK in its negotiations with the European Union over the terms of its exit. These principles formed the basis of a White Paper outlining the government's planned approach to the Brexit negotiations. Among other things, the UK does not plan continued membership of the EU Single Market and wishes to control immigration.
There is now a clear timeframe for the Brexit negotiations and a broad framework to guide the UK government in these talks, but still no clarity for aviation. There are obstacles to the UK's continued membership of the European Common Aviation Area, and a bilateral approach may now be more likely. The UK Transport Secretary wants the "best possible access to European aviation markets", but is not yet able to say how that can be achieved.