Travel Industry News 22nd May 2023

Decision on Heathrow charges delayed to October

London Heathrow airport will have to wait until the middle of October to find out how much it can charge per passenger over the next few years.  In March, the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority set out its final decision for Heathrow’s passenger charges up to the end of 2026, which would see prices capped at £31.57 per passenger this year. They would then fall to £25.43 next year and stay “broadly flat” in 2025 and 2026.

But these price caps sparked a wave of appeals to the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) from Heathrow itself, which argues the prices are being set too low by the regulator, and three airlines – British Airways, Delta and Virgin Atlantic – who want the cap to be lowered further to around £20 per passenger by the CAA.

The CMA had been due to make a decision on the passenger charges in August, but this deadline has now been pushed back by eight weeks to 17 October. The CAA is also being given more time to respond to the various appeals with its deadline extended to 31 May.

Travellers expect ‘smooth’ airport experience this summer

The vast majority of air passengers are expecting a trouble-free travel experience when flying this summer, with the problems that disrupted journeys last summer having largely been “resolved”.

A survey by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) of nearly 5,000 consumers in 11 countries found that 80 per cent were expecting a “smooth” travel experience when flying in the coming peak months.

The sector is bracing itself for a major increase in traffic this summer with hopes that there will not be a repeat of last year’s staffing problems, which caused several of Europe’s largest hub airports, such as London Heathrow, Amsterdam Schiphol and Frankfurt, to impose lower daily passenger limits – a move that lead to the cancellation of thousands of flights.

IATA said that flight bookings for departures between May and September were around 35 per cent higher than this time last year, with Europe forecast to see a 39.9 per cent rise in passenger numbers.

Travel news as a glance:

Qantas to add around one million seats to its international network by end of 2024

EasyJet to open Birmingham base

Berlin airport trials new customer facial recognition services

Etihad launces Osaka route from 1 October

Finnair reduces baggage allowances and tier benefits

LNER unveils ‘Century’ Azuma train as part of celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the LNER name

Hainan Airlines to restart Edinburgh-Beijing route