UK Airport Reforms Threaten British Airways Grip at Heathrow – BNN Bloomberg


(Bloomberg) — Large airlines such as British Airways and EasyJet Plc could lose control over lucrative takeoff and landing slots at UK airports, as the government overhauls the way it allocates capacity at major hubs like London Heathrow. 

The UK’s Department for Transport said Monday it is weighing reforms including how it manages slot capacity and allocates it to airlines.

The aim is to restrict the leasing out of slots by major airlines monopolizing capacity at so-called Level 3 airports like London’s Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted hubs. Unused slots could then be allocated to other airlines which are smaller, newer and may offer lower prices, the DfT said. 

Airport slots can be priced at tens of millions of pounds in the UK. BA, a unit of IAG SA, is the biggest tenant at Heathrow, while EasyJet dominates Gatwick and Ryanair Holdings Plc at Stansted. A boom in travel demand since the pandemic has meant airport slots have become increasingly hard to come by.

The DfT said the reforms could generate heightened market competition, affordable flights and better journeys.

Anthony Browne, the UK’s aviation minister, said in the statement the consultation will help to “end monopolies within the slot regime” and encourage healthy competition between carriers.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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