We assess whether airports have substantial market power and, where appropriate, licence those that do. Information
on airports that have planning rights as statutory undertakers and traffic distribution rules for Heathrow and Gatwick
We have powers under the Civil Aviation Act 2012 for the economic regulation of operators of airports in the UK.
Under the legislation an airport operator that passes the following test requires a licence issued by us.
The test is:
a) The relevant operator has, or is likely to acquire, substantial market power in a
market, either alone or taken with such other persons as we consider appropriate.
b) Competition law does not provide sufficient protection against the risk that the relevant operator may engage in
conduct that amounts to an abuse of that substantial market power.
c) For users of air transport services, the benefits of regulating the relevant operator by means of a licence are
likely to outweigh the adverse effects.
Starting in May 2011, we undertook market power assessments of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports. In January
2014, we published our findings that Heathrow and Gatwick met the market power tests and therefore the respective
operators required a licence. We found that Stansted did not meet the tests for services to passenger airlines. In
March 2014, we found that Stansted did not meet the tests for services to cargo airlines at the airport either and,
therefore, does not require licensing.
In February 2014, we granted licences to the operators of Heathrow and Gatwick airports which came into force on 1
April 2014. These licences include conditions relating to prices, service quality and operational resilience, amongst
We have powers under the Civil Aviation Act to impose penalties for breach of a licence condition or breach of an
enforcement order issued in relation to a licence condition. We may also impose penalties for non-compliance with
information notices we have issued and for destroying information or knowingly supplying false information. We are
required to publish a statement of policy on penalties for non-compliance under Chapter 1 of the Civil Aviation Act
setting out the criteria we will use to determine whether a penalty is appropriate and the amount of any penalty.
In May 2015, after consultation, we published Economic Licensing Enforcement Guidance covering our approach to
enforcing the airport economic licences and licences to provide air traffic services under the Transport Act 2000. The
guidance outlines the legal framework in which our work fits and informs stakeholders of the enforcement powers we have
and how we will use them.
After consultation, we also published prioritisation principles that explain our approach in deciding which pieces
of work to take forward in the areas of consumer protection, competition law and economic regulation.
An airport operator whose annual turnover at the airport exceeded £1m in at least two of the last three financial
years may apply for a certificate that confers rights on the operator as a statutory undertaker. Airport operators who
already have a permission to levy airport charges issued under section 39 of the Airports Act 1986 retain their status
as a statutory undertaker.
Under the Traffic Distribution Rules 1991 whole plane cargo services or general or business aviation cannot be
operated at Heathrow or Gatwick airports during periods of peak congestion declared for each scheduling season, without
permission from the airport operator.
The Civil Aviation Authority, in exercise of its powers under the above Rules and having consulted Heathrow Airport Ltd and Airport Coordination Ltd announces that from 0001 on 25 March 2018 until 2359 on 27 October 2018, the hours of peak congestion at Heathrow Airport for the purposes of the above Rules are as specified below:
All times are UTC.
Saturday 0500-1255 1400-1455
Sunday 0500-1655 1800-2155
Monday 0500-1955 2100-2155
Friday 0500-1955 2100-2155
Saturday 0500-0655 0800-1255 1400-1655 2000-2155
Sunday 0700-1955 2100-2155
The Civil Aviation Authority, in exercise of its powers under the above Rules and having consulted Gatwick Airport Ltd and Airport Coordination Ltd announces that from 0001 on 21 May 2018 until 2359 on 21 September 2018, the hours of peak congestion at Gatwick Airport for the purposes of the above Rules are as specified below:
All times are UTC
Tuesday 0500-0955 1100-1855
Wednesday 0500-1455 1700-1955
Friday 0500-0755 0900-1355 1700-1955
Sunday 0500-0655 0900-1855
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