News

Bmi “outraged” by new BAA charges

4 Nov 2010 by BusinessTraveller
Bmi says it will fight proposals by airport operator BAA to increase domestic departure charges at London Heathrow by 50 per cent from next April. The carrier says that the hike in charges for domestic passengers departing from the London hub will see the rate rise from £13.43 to £20.25, an increase of over 50 per cent. The new fees comes into effect on April 1, 2011, and follow the controversial increase in APD charges at the start of this month (see In Focus in this month’s edition of Business Traveller for more details). In a statement Bmi’s CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said: “We are outraged at this BAA plan to increase prices. These planned higher charges are unjustifiable when domestic passengers do not use the same facilities as international passengers. The charging structure from Heathrow is therefore favouring longhaul airlines and neglects the need of local British airlines serving the domestic markets. "The new charges will not only lead to higher prices for domestic flights but also price travellers onto other forms of transport which, on some routes such as Heathrow- Belfast, is simply not feasible. Comments made by political decision-makers that domestic passengers should use trains can only be labelled as cynical taking into account the over-water journey to and from Belfast and the length of train journeys to and from Scotland.” Prock-Schauer labelled the increase “totally unacceptable”, and said he was “deeply concerned that these higher charges will be a major blow to the economies of Scotland and Northern Ireland who heavily depend on air connectivity to and from Heathrow”. In response to the comments by Bmis, a spokesperson for BAA said: "We welcome BMI's comments on the British economy and have explained that the way we charge airlines has to reflect our costs. Domestic passengers benefit from Heathrow's facilities and services with common departure lounges, security and access to and from the airport. There is no material difference in the costs of handling domestic and European passengers and we are reflecting this in our new structure which is charged to airlines, not passengers." For more information visit flybmi.com, baa.com. Report by Mark Caswell
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