Despite the CAA’s initially sceptical response to Ryanair’s complaints at Stansted Airport fees, budget airline boss Michael O’Leary continues to demand an investigation.For Ryanair, a fresh 6% hike in Stansted airport fees is an “unjustifiable” move prompting the carrier to reverse its plans to boost traffic from the gateway. But the Civil Aviation Authority’s first reaction to a fiery Ryanair press release – that the rise is in line with a formula in place since 2009 – failed to convince the outspoken CEO. He told Routes News that he has made a formal request to the authority over the new fee structure. “The bit we want the CAA to investigate is not the price increase per se, but why is Ferrovial raising fees in April when they are leaving in February – unless it is part of a sweetener or inducement in the sale of the airport?” he said. The CAA told Routes News that it is reviewing a letter from Ryanair. “The CAA’s price cap at Stansted for 2013/14 is £7.68 per passenger. Stansted has set its charges to deliver an average charge of £7.65 per passenger, which is therefore within the cap,” said a CAA spokesperson. “However, Ryanair has written to the CAA to request that it looks into the price increase. We are reviewing Ryanair’s letter.” For O’Leary, the request by Ferrovial/BAA to raise fees on the eve of Stansted’s purchase by Manchester Airport Group suggests that the airport's previous owners wanted to boost the sale price. A Ferrovial spokesperson told Routes News that the recent increases – which prompted Ryanair to announce a 9% cut in its Stansted traffic – “have nothing to do with the recent sale process”. The spokesperson added that pricing levels were set by the CAA in 2009 to cover the period up to April 2014. In any case, the long-running dispute between O’Leary and the CAA looks set to rumble on. Ryanair’s boss said the authority’s initial comments to Routes News on Ryanair's complaints reflected its consistent failure to rein in Stansted’s fees, at the cost of traffic through the hub. “After six consecutive years of traffic declines, do CAA’s arguments make sense in English, let alone logic?” he said. “The CAA seems to be arguing here that if there’s a cap, then the airport should increase fees up to it.”Source: routenews, Piers Evans
Gravity always wins!