Different pricing policies are expected to be introduced for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted in the biggest regulatory shake up in a quarter of a century.
The Civil Aviation Authority is looking to replace the outmoded regulatory formula at Stansted and give Gatwick (pictured) more freedom to strike commercial deals, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The regulator is also expected to force Heathrow to cut planned hikes to landing charges of 5.9% a year above inflation that have enraged the airlines.
The regulatory changes could result in lower fares, but the CAA is mindful of the need to encourage airport investment.
The authority is due to give its initial thoughts on April 30 for maximum landing charges per passenger at the UK’s three regulated airports for the next five-year period starting in April next year.
This is the first time that all three airports are under different ownership following the forced break-up of BAA.
BAA, which is now renamed Heathrow, sold Gatwick to Global Infrastructure Partners for £1.5 billion in 2009, while in January it offloaded Stansted to Manchester Airports Group for a similar sum.
Changes of ownership have coincided with a new licensing regime for UK-regulated airports that has allowed the CAA to abandon its previous “one-size-fits-all regulation,” the newspaper quotes sourcs as saying.
An added complication is the review by the Davies Commission into UK hub airport capacity, where any “game-changing” decision in 2015 would force the CAA to review its pricing proposals.
Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate has claimed that charges would be lower if it was free to strike commercial deals with major customers such as easyJet.
The CAA’s announcement is expected to trigger intense lobbying by airports and airlines over the regime for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. It will make a final decision in January.
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