A planned hike in passenger fees by Heathrow has been condemned by the Scottish Passenger Agents Association.
Plans by the BAA-owned airport to increase its UK domestic passenger charge by up to £7 per passenger from April was attacked by SPAA president Brian Potter as “‘yet more exploitation of beleaguered air passengers in the UK, and particularly the regions, in the form of ever-increasing taxes and charges”.
The SPAA, which has long campaigned against rises in Air Passenger Duty, is calling for a review of the charge hike following consultation with airlines such as Bmi.
Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) claims the revised charge will bring it in line with rates paid by passengers departing from other EU airports.
But Potter said: “Regardless of the source of any such additional charges the ultimate result remains the same – further pressure on already challenged business travel budgets, and an inevitable reduction in demand for the UK domestic air services which are vital to the nation’s economic health.
“Many passengers travel on split-journey tickets to get the best air fare savings, and these passengers will end up paying increased airport charges twice, when they already pay double APD.
“Heathrow Airport seeks to be the main UK transfer hub – an objective already damaged by lack of runway space – and these additional charges will not help, but rather give passengers another reason to think of using alternatives such as Amsterdam, Frankfurt or Paris.”
He added: “We are looking for a re-think from our colleagues at HAL, not least on how they might spread these costs across other areas of operation. UK domestic passengers do not use the same level of immigration and customs services as international passengers, so it is deeply unfair that they should be saddled with additional costs.
“Coming on top of recent APD increases, this proposed new charge will cause further damage to regional businesses.”