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Published on Thursday, February 14, 2013

Gatwick outlines plans for 'radical' changes

Gatwick Airport has set out proposals for a radical change in the way it operates, claiming it will mean lower charges for airlines and passengers.

It says the new deal, which would be free from regulation, would allow it to respond more quickly to its customers' needs, improve facilities and service, and keep prices more competitive.

"By removing wasted costs of regulation, improving incentives and speeding up investment, Gatwick can offer airlines a lower price path over a longer period of time than would be the case if it continues to operate within a regulatory framework," it said.

Under the new deal, passenger fees will increase from £8.80 in 2014 to a maximum per passenger fee of £10.68 in 2020/21.

Gatwick claimed that if it stays within the current regulatory framework, the maximum per passenger fee would rise to £11.45 in just five years.

The CAA invited Gatwick to propose a 'Contracts and Commitments Framework' in October 2012.

It will come to a decision on the initial proposal on 30 April 2013 and make a final decision in January 2014.

"Competition is by far the best mechanism for promoting the interests of passengers," said Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate.

"It is the very reason why the Competition Commission took the decision to break up the BAA monopoly and why Gatwick is now thriving under separate ownership."

Gatwick's proposal comes just days after Heathrow outlined plans to raise airline fees to fund future development.

Gatwick is planning to put forward an investment of a further £1 billion in the airport between 2014 and 2019.

The airport said this would be used to:

- Continue the transformation of its check-in areas in partnership with airlines to reduce queues

- Develop a new state-of-the-art security area in North Terminal, using the same processes and customer service introduced in Gatwick's £45 million South Terminal security area opened in 2011

- Replace Pier 1, the UK's oldest pier, with a two-storey replacement

- Install a new baggage system and new gate rooms linked to five new aircraft stands by air bridges

- Extend Pier 6 to provide a "world-class, 95% pier service", which will also increase the number of A380 stands.


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