CAA announces decision in Flybe’s Gatwick complaint investigation

Date: 17 January 2013

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today published its decision on a complaint made by Flybe about changes to Gatwick Airport’s charges which came into effect in April 2011.

The changes led to Gatwick’s summer landing charges being increased by 62.5%, while their winter charges were reduced to zero. Other charges were kept at the same level. As such, the entire cost increase allowed under the CAA’s price cap for Gatwick was loaded on to summer landing charges.

Flybe’s complaint, made under section 41 of the Airports Act 1986, was that structuring charges in this manner unreasonably discriminated against it and other operators of small aircraft at Gatwick.

The CAA has found that although the changed charges discriminate against airlines using small aircraft, the discrimination was not unreasonable, because Gatwick’s objective of increasing the efficient use of its single runway in re-structuring its charges, justified the decision to make the changes.

The decision document sets out that while the CAA believes that some passengers may be harmed by GAL’s changes to its charging structure, the numbers involved are likely to be small and the adverse effects would be balanced by benefits to other passengers.

Today’s announcement follows a provisional decision in line with today’s final decision, published for consultation in September 2012.

The CAA’s full decision document can be seen here: Investigation under Section 41 of the Airports Act 1986
of the structure of airport charges levied by Gatwick Airport Limited - CAA decision

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Notes to Editors
1. The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy from an economic standpoint.