The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announcement last week that Stansted Airport would no longer be regulated from April onwards has effectively given the London airport the green light to increase charges.
Air Travellers are being warned of the possibility of increased flight costs after the airport was allowed to increase the price it charges airlines.
Currently Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow are the only regulated airports and the amount they can charge airlines is capped.
But last week the CAA announced that it was planning to tighten regulation at Heathrow and Gatwick airports from April to ensure prices remain competitive and the quality of services are maintained.
The CAA decided to deregulate Stansted Airport because it believes the airport “does not have substantial market power”.
Low-cost airline, Ryanair – which signed a new ten-year expansion agreement with Stansted in September – believes the CAA’s decision will “harm consumers”.
Juliusz Komorek, director of legal and regulatory affairs at Ryanair, said: “Stansted will be able to further increase airport charges whenever it wishes, without any reference to competitive price levels.”
But the decision by the CAA has been warmly greeted by the owners of Stansted Airport, the Manchester Airports Group (MAG).
MAG’s chief executive, Charlie Cornish said: “Since MAG acquired Stansted in February last year we’ve focused on building strong commercial relationships with airlines and delivering a better experience for passengers.
“The long term growth deals we’ve agreed with airlines – including Ryanair, easyJet and Thomas Cook – will see Stansted continue to grow rapidly over the next decade, offering passengers more choice.
“The CAA’s decision to step back from regulating Stansted is a welcome endorsement of the changes we’ve made.”