Tue, Jun 03, 2008
Says Higher Charges At Declining Facility Are Laughable
One of the big problems at airlines
right now is difficulty getting passengers to pay higher ticket
prices to offset rising fuel costs. At Monday's IATA meeting,
Director General Giovanni Bisignani (right) seemed to vent some of
that frustration in comments about Heathrow Airport in London,
where he says has the UK's Civil Aviation Authority increased
charges by 50 percent over the last five years, and plans another
86 percent increase for the next five.
The Daily Telegraph reports he joined politicians and business
leaders in a chorus of criticism of declining service at London's
main airport. "Service levels are a national embarrassment... Could
anyone in this room ask for a fare increase of 86 percent? Nobody.
That only happens in 'Monopoly-land.'"
Bisignani also called the CAA the world's worst regulator.
Heathrow is operated by BAA, which in turn is owned by
Ferrovial, a Spanish company. Following the recent catastrophe at
the airport's new Terminal 5, which saw 20-thousand bags lost and
hundreds of flights cancelled, calls have increased for a breakup
of BAA's monopoly on London's three major airports, and some have
even demanded competition among individual terminals at Heathrow
for airline business.
The CAA admits that airlines and their passengers deserve better
service from BAA, and said the operator will pay fines for the
April debacle at Heathrow, but issued a statement defending the
increased airport charges.
"These airport charges are paying for the modernization of
Heathrow in terms of both facilities and service, for the direct
benefit of the passenger," the regulatory body said."
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