LONDON - TRAVELLERS using London's two biggest airports - Heathrow and Gatwick - can expect to be charged higher fees from next month.
Britain's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced yesterday that it would allow fees to rise 23.5 per cent at Heathrow to £12.80 (S$36) per passenger, effective April 1.
At Gatwick, it is allowing a 21 per cent increase to £6.79 per passenger. The fee is charged for each departure or arrival at the airport.
Although the fee is assessed against airlines, the charge is generally added to ticket prices.
In the next four years, fees at Heathrow will increase by no more than retail price inflation, while Gatwick fees can go up by two points more per year than the inflation rate.
'These higher airport charges are essentially paying for the modernisation of Heathrow and Gatwick,' the CAA said.
At Heathrow, that includes paying for the new Terminal 5 which enters service this month. At Gatwick, there are plans for expanding terminal facilities.
Airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic accused the CAA of caving in to pressure from the airport owner, BAA, a subsidiary of Grupo Ferrovial of Spain, which is battling to refinance its debts.
REUTERS, ASSOCIATED PRESS