Passengers To Benefit From More Choice In Flights From London To Moscow

Date: 24 October 2012

Air passengers travelling to Moscow from London will benefit from additional choice following a decision from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced today. The CAA has decided that the two United Kingdom airlines that will be entitled to operate between London and Moscow under bilateral agreements with the Russian government will be British Airways (BA) from Heathrow Airport, and easyJet from Gatwick Airport.

The two UK airlines previously entitled to operate between London and Moscow were BA and BMI. Following BA’s take-over of BMI, BA, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic all made applications for permission to operate on this route. Where airlines wish to operate more services than are permitted under an agreement between the governments concerned, the CAA is tasked with deciding which of them should be entitled to operate. In doing so the CAA aims to allocate the rights to operate to the airlines that best serve air transport users’ varied needs, at the lowest prices consistent with a high standard of safety, promoting competition, securing effective provision of civil air transport to the UK and ensuring the effective use of UK airports.

The decision comes after a Scarce Capacity Hearing at which a Panel of CAA Board Members considered the arguments put forward by each of the applicant airlines. The CAA Panel decided to allow BA to continue to operate the services they currently operate from London Heathrow Airport to Moscow Domodedovo Airport and to grant easyJet permission to operate between London Gatwick and Moscow Domodedovo.

Iain Osborne, CAA Director of Regulatory Policy, and chair of the scarce capacity decision panel, said: “On balance, allocating scarce capacity to BA and easyJet is likely to deliver the greatest benefit to consumers. easyJet’s proposal will introduce an innovative product into the market and has the potential to deliver the greatest dynamic fare benefits for consumers.”

“We concluded that easyJet’s proposal would introduce a distinctly different product into the market and would stimulate innovation on the route as a whole, as well as satisfying and stimulating consumer demand that is currently underserved, in particular: people who prefer or are content to use Gatwick.”

easyJet are expected to begin operating services to Moscow from early 2013. The CAA understands that BA will continue with its current schedule.

The decision document can be found on the CAA website here: Decision on Scarce Capacity Allocation Certificates.

For further media information contact the CAA Press Office on: 0207 453 6030 or email press.office@caa.co.uk. You can follow the CAA on @UK_CAA.

Notes to Editors
1. Outside the single European market, where UK based airlines wish to operate more services than are available under the Air Services Agreement between the UK Government and the foreign government, there is what is known as "scarce capacity" and the affected routes are “capacity constrained routes”. In this circumstance, the CAA determines which airlines should be awarded the right to operate the available services on these capacity constrained routes.
2. The Civil Aviation (Allocation of Scarce Capacity) Regulations 2007 state that in order to operate commercially on a capacity constrained route between the UK and any other state, a Scarce Capacity Allocation Certificate is required. Any UK or EU airline licensed or established in the UK is entitled to apply for such a certificate. The decision to award the certificate rests with the CAA.
3. The Civil Aviation (Allocation of Scarce Capacity) Regulations 2007 set out the procedures for such a decision including the holding of a hearing. A decision to grant, refuse to grant, revoke or vary (otherwise than on the application of the holder) a Scarce Capacity Allocation Certificate will be made by at least one Member of the CAA.
4. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its regulatory activities range from making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards to preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency.