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IATA attacks higher landing charges at British airports

(AFP) – Mar 12, 2008 

GENEVA (AFP) — The International Air Transport Association on Wednesday attacked the decision by Britain's independent aviation regulator to allow airport operator BAA to significantly hike landing charges.

"Failure is the only word to describe the Civil Aviation Authority's decision," said IATA chief Giovanni Bisignani.

Pointing out that a 50 percent increase in landing charges was allowed for 2003-2008 and another 50 percent now set through to 2013, Bisignani called the CAA "impotent in defending the interests of travellers against monopolies.

"Economic regulation must produce results that are measured by improved efficiency and quality, not reward excessive monopoly profits and embarrassingly low service levels," he said.

He said the decision impacts London's competitiveness.

"If we don't fix London's dysfunctional airports, the city's regular travellers will find a more convenient home. Frankfurt, for example, would be only too happy to welcome them," he said.

The CAA on Tuesday allowed the BAA to impose a maximum landing charge of 12.80 pounds (25.87 dollars) in 2008-2009 for each passenger arriving at Heathrow, marking a rise of 23.5 percent from the current cap.

In addition, BAA can hike the landing charge by a further 7.5 percent above the rate of inflation in each of the following four years up to 2013.

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