Guernsey

Airlines oppose landing fee rise by Gatwick Airport

Malcolm Hart
Image caption Mr Hart said the increase discriminated against smaller aircraft

Airlines operating between Guernsey and Gatwick airports are joining forces to oppose an increase in landing fees at the London airport.

Aurigny said the extra £400,000 in costs would see fares on the route increase by £2 from 1 April.

Malcolm Hart, managing director, said Gatwick's action was squeezing out smaller airlines.

The airport said the overall rise of 6% in fees was competitively priced and would only apply during the summer.

Mr Hart said he was joining with Flybe, the Devon-based airline that also operates the route, to fight the increase.

He said: "The charges for small airplanes are rising by 25%, that's why I'm feeling hard done by.

"We believe this huge increase in costs forms the Gatwick Airport strategy of discriminating against smaller aircraft.

"Basically they want their busy runway occupied by the biggest jets they can get, even though industry professionals see no level of demand from operators of these large aircraft to use Gatwick currently."

'No commercial sense'

A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport said: "With demand for air transport set to increase, coupled with a block on runway expansion in the South East, Gatwick must look at how best to make the most efficient use of a single runway."

They said there would be no increase to fees for departing passengers and the aim was to encourage greater all-year round use of the runway.

The spokesperson said extra fees would help to fund the £1bn improvement works programme the airport was currently undertaking.

Mr Hart said: "Unlike other regional airlines such as BMI which is stopping its Heathrow/Glasgow route and Air Southwest which has already ended theirs from Newquay and Plymouth to Gatwick, we will not pull out of Gatwick to save costs.

"As an island we rely heavily on the Gatwick slots for business and leisure, because we are owned by islanders, we can ensure that these vital links to Gatwick are retained, even if flying out of the airport with such a huge increase in costs would otherwise not make commercial sense."

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