Azara Blog: BAA rockets airport charges at Stansted

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Date published: 2005/05/23

The Cambridge Evening News says:

In the same week BAA has reported a profit jump of 19 per cent to £637m, the airports authority has announced a 300 per cent increase in charges at Stansted Airport.

easyJet and Ryanair, which between them account for almost 80 per cent of Stansted's passengers, say they want to see the airport developed, but to meet their needs.

They argue that current plans are to cater for long-haul high cost airlines which do not fly from Stansted at present.

Their beef is that they, and their customers, are being asked to fund Stansted's development into a swanky airport they don't need.

BAA wants to increase charges from the current level of around £2.89 to up to £8 by 2008 to pay for Stansted's expansion. It also plans to levy a contribution of up to £1 from passengers at Heathrow and Gatwick to help pay for Stansted.

British Airways, bmi and Virgin Atlantic have previously threatened legal action if BAA attempted to cross-subsidise.
Ed Winter, easyJet's chief operating officer and chairman of the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee, said: "BAA has announced the Great Consumer Rip-Off and it should send a shiver down the spine of every airline passenger in the UK.

"It is planning to build a folly on the grandest scale that is unnecessary and unwanted.

"Before sensible low airport charges attracted the likes of easyJet to Stansted, it was little more than a white elephant in an Essex field with a single runway; BAA seems determined to make it a white elephant in an Essex field with two runways."

Easyjet and Ryanair have a bit of influence in that they can move some operations from Stansted to Luton (the only major airport near London not in the clutches of BAA). Of course most people living near airports do not want any expansion (except near other airports, but the safest strategy is to oppose all) and it's amazing BAA has managed to convince the airlines of the same. The only way BAA will win on their current strategy is if they have some kind of undue influence with the government.

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