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United Kingdom of GB and NI

UK Government will not impose an upper limit on charges at Luton Airport

11 Sep 2000

UK's Aviation Minister Chris Mullin today said the Government would not impose an upper limit or cap on charges to airlines using Luton Airport.

The low-budget airline easyJet had asked the Government to designate the airport under section 40 of the Airports Act 1986, which would mean the Civil Aviation Authority imposing a limit.

Mr Mullin said:

"We have given careful consideration to the application by easyJet to have Luton Airport designated. Both sides have presented written and oral representations, and the CAA has also advised on the case.

"The introduction of a cap would be a very major step, involving additional regulation and cost. I believe that this should be a last resort, requiring strong evidence of abuse or potential abuse by an airport of a dominant position."

Mr Mullin added:

"On the basis of the various representations received, I am not persuaded that the management of Luton Airport has abused its position in negotiating new charges with airlines that use the airport. Nor do I believe that Luton has behaved in such a way that designation would be justified.

"Were easyJet to allege discriminatory behaviour, redress is open to it under section 41 of the Airports Act. Abuse of a dominant position is also an offence under the Competition Act 1998."

Mr Mullin concluded:

"The relationship between easyJet and Luton Airport has been good for the travelling public and the local economy. I hope that the two sides can now come to an understanding, and that both will continue to flourish."

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