Airports could be fined when passengers’ travel plans are disrupted, under new plans proposed by the government.
Aviation minister Theresa Villiers said the government wanted to give the Civil Aviation Authority power to fine an airport when it “let passengers down and didn’t prepare properly for severe weather conditions”.
Heathrow airport faced criticism last week when it shut both runways leaving tens of thousands of people stranded.
Villers added: “We want to make sure that airports are doing their very best to prepare for severe weather conditions.
“They need to perform properly and they need to prepare properly.”
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond told the Sunday Times there should be an “economic penalty for service failure”.
In the interview, Hammond said it was unacceptable that BAA would face no punishment under the current system for the recent chaos at Heathrow.
According to the newspaper, ministers are considering a new airport economic regulation bill which would create new powers to impose fines for service failures and penalties for airports which fail to prepare for adverse weather.
Under the existing system, fines can be imposed by the CAA for failures like passenger queues at security, and over cleanliness.
Prime Minister David Cameron was among those who voiced his frustration at last week’s disruption, and BAA has since launched an investigation into the problems.