The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has upheld a complaint by low-cost carrier Ryanair against the fee structure at Gatwick Airport.
The CAA found Gatwick Airport failed to comply with its obligations under the EU-sponsored Transparency Condition by not providing airport users with sufficient information to show how the airport determined its charges.
Fees include those charged for check-in desks and associated baggage facilities.
The ruling follows a 2009 complaint from Ryanair against Gatwick Airport’s “opaque pricing system”.
The latest CAA decision comes just two weeks after the CAA ruled that Gatwick Airport has applied discriminatory charges for check-in facilities.
Under Gatwick’s discriminatory charging system, all passengers are charged for using check-in desks, even if they have checked-in online and are carrying only hand baggage, and so made no use of check-in desks.
All of Ryanair passengers check-in online and the majority carry only hand baggage. Ryanair’s passengers are therefore forced to cross-subsidise passengers of other airlines, who make much greater use of check-in facilities.
The CAA has stated that Gatwick should be required to provide users with the principles on which its check-in charges are set and adequate information showing that charges have been calculated using these principles.
Commenting on the CAA’s decision, Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said: “We welcome another enlightened decision from the CAA which recognises that passengers and airlines must not be forced to pay for facilities and infrastructure they do not use.
“The majority of Ryanair passengers do not go near check-in desks, yet Gatwick Airport has been charging check-in desk fees in respect of those passengers for over five years.
“The CAA’s findings will help Ryanair ensure that passengers are not forced to pay for services or facilities they do not use.”