Flybe has added its voice to the growing chorus of disapproval concerning this week”s announcement of a massive spike in UK airport charges.
Speaking to a media briefing this afternoon (13 March) with several regional airline CEOs near Cardiff Airport, Flybe chief commercial officer Mike Rutter poured scorn on the CAA”s proposals to allow BAA to charge up to 23.5% and 21% extra at Heathrow and Gatwick respectively.
”We allowed one of the largest monopolies in the country to have a licence to print money,” he said.
”We in Flybe have complained and we have made ourselves extremely unpopular in calling for the break up of BAA ” we believe the four assets in the South East should be separately owned ” I repeat that call today.
”We call for the replacement of the CAA as an oversight [body] and a regulator for BAA. In every other line of work, it would be time to say goodbye.”
Rutter also slammed proposals by the Chancellor of the Exchequer who slapped a 10% surcharge on the replacement tax to air passenger duty ” announced in yesterday”s UK budget ” and called for a comprehensive survey to measure the carbon footprint of each aircraft. Flybe is also expressing quiet satisfaction at this week”s decision by the SAS group to purchase 27 Bombardier Q400 aircraft, despite previously delivering a series of scathing comments on the machine and withdrawing its entire fleet.
”This is putting right a wrong that was done to the aircraft,” said Rutter, whose airline operates 34 Q400s.
The airline also announced that following its acquisition of BA Connect ” ”in all forced or arranged marriages there are challenges” ” that it was working on adding three European business routes from Cardiff to Brussels, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf.
”It is a year since we acquired BA Connect or to put it another way, since they [BA] gave us ”136m ($276m) to take it off their hands,” said Rutter.
”BA Connect lost ”43m last year but I am pleased to report that we will post a ”30-35m profit in 2008.”