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Heathrow passenger charges could rise by up to 56% by 2023

Heathrow

Heathrow passenger charges could rise by up to 56% by 2023

Heathrow will be allowed to raise significantly its landing charges from next summer, the aviation regulator has announced, although it has ruled out the near-doubling of charges proposed by the airport.

Airlines reacted with dismay at the Civil Aviation Authority’s proposals, which could allow the UK’s biggest airport to increase charges by up to 56% by 2023 as it seeks to recoup losses from the pandemic.

The CAA has launched a consultation on a range of airport charges a passenger from £24.50 to £34.40, an increase from £22 a passenger in 2020. It said it sought to protect consumers against unfair charges, and that it would work closely with Heathrow, airlines and others to narrow this range over the next few months.

The range will come into effect from summer 2022, with an interim cap of £30 for next year.

Heathrow had called for the charges to range from £32 to £43 a passenger, as it seeks to recoup losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic – a sum that led Willie Walsh, the ex-AIG boss leading the global airline body Iata, to accuse the airport of “gouging” its customers.

The airport said in July that its total losses since the start of the pandemic had reached £2.9bn. In September, passenger numbers were 38% of pre-pandemic levels.

Richard Moriarty, the CAA chief executive, said: “While international air travel is still recovering, setting a price control for Heathrow airport against the backdrop of so much uncertainty means we have had to adapt our approach. Our principal objective is to further the interests of consumers while recognising the challenges the industry has faced throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These initial proposals seek to protect consumers against unfair charges, and will allow Heathrow to continue to appropriately invest in keeping the airport resilient, efficient and one that provides a good experience for passengers.”

The CAA rejected Heathrow’s request for an additional adjustment to its regulatory asset base to make up losses caused by the pandemic on top of the £300m it allowed in April. Heathrow had asked for a £2.6bn increase under the funding model that recovers airport investment through landing charges.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “Our aim is to reach a settlement that enables us to give passengers a great service while operating a safe, resilient and competitive hub airport for Britain. That Heathrow is ranked by passengers as one of the best airports in the world is testament to the power of private investment over the past decade, and to enable this to continue, we believe the settlement should safeguard a fair return for investors.

“While it is right the CAA protect consumers against excessive profits and waste, the settlement is not designed to shield airlines from legitimate cost increases or the impacts of fewer people travelling.”

However, airlines said the proposals were unacceptable. Shai Weiss, the chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said they “failed to protect the British consumer”, adding: “The world’s most expensive airport risks becoming over 50% more expensive, as Heathrow and its owners seek to recoup their pandemic losses and secure hundreds of millions in dividends to shareholders. It is concerning that the regulator has failed in its first opportunity to step in, and together with industry partners, we will oppose these proposals in the strongest terms to protect passengers.”

Luis Gallego, the chief executive of the British Airways owner IAG, said: “International connectivity is vital for the UK’s economic recovery. Heathrow is already the world’s most expensive hub airport. The disproportionate increase compared to other European hubs will undermine its competitiveness even further and UK consumers will be losing out.”

He said that IAG would engage in the regulator’s consultation “to advocate for UK consumers over the interests of Heathrow’s shareholders”.

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Business

35 illegal tax collectors facing prosecution in Benue

The Acting Chairman of the Benue State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), Emmanuel Agena, has revealed that 35 persons involved in illegal tax collection in the state are currently facing prosecution.

Agena announced that the agency has set an ambitious target to generate over N16 billion in revenue for the year 2024 following the successful surpassing of its N14 billion target in 2023.

Speaking to journalists on Monday, Agena expressed concern over the activities of illegal tax collectors in the state, noting that many of them were supported by influential personalities.

He stated that his administration at the BIRS had put an end to the era of patronage by politicians, aiming to significantly reduce illegal tax collection activities.

The BIRS boss also condemned a recent incident in which a truck carrying palliatives from Adamawa to Anambra State was hijacked by youths in Aliade, Gwer East.

He disclosed that three suspects have been arrested in connection with the incident.

“A truck was intercepted and the driver beaten while the windscreen of the vehicle broken and over N200,000 was stolen.

“Three persons have been arrested and are in police custody. They will be moved to DSS for thorough investigation.

“We aim to flush out or reduce illegal tax collectors to the barest minimum. Already, 35 people who engaged in illegal tax collection were arrested and facing prosecution.

“This has been a big challenge. We have constituted a team headed by the director of Tax collection. Prominent people in the state are involved in encouraging these boys,” he stated.

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Business

Nigeria’s Inflation rate hits 33.20% in March- NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics NBS says Nigeria’s inflation rate jumped to 33.20% in March 2024 compared to February 2024 headline inflation rate which was 31.70%.

A report released by the NBS on Monday, April 15, reads

“Looking at the movement, the March 2024 headline inflation rate showed an increase of 1.50% points when compared to the February 2024 headline inflation rate.

“On a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 11.16% points higher compared to the rate recorded in March 2023, which was 22.04%. On a month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate in March 2024 was 3.02%, which was 0.10% lower than the rate recorded in February 2024 (3.12%).

“This means that in the month of March 2024, the rate of increase in the average price level is less than the rate of increase in the average price level in February 2024.”

 

The inflation report by the NBS followed the hike of Nigeria’s interest rate from 22.75% to 24.75% by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The March inflation rate was released at a time when measures by the apex bank to strenghten the naira against foreign exchange have seen some positive results.

The naira has appreciated against the dollar in recent weeks, gaining over 40%, from about N1,900/$ to about N1,100/$1 now.

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Business

NAFDAC seals popular Supermarket in Ibadan

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) has sealed a popular groceries and cosmetics supermarket, Pinnacle in Dugbe area of Ibadan over sale of fake products.

The supermarket, usually a beehive of activities was now a shadow of itself as the gate leading to the premises was shut with an inscription directing customers to its branch at Challenge.

Management of the supermarket cited technical issues as reason for its closure.

An inside source who pleaded for anonymity however revealed that problem started on Tuesday, 2nd April , 2024 when NAFDAC surveillance team stormed the mall to enforce total shutdown of the premises, thereby forcing shoppers out of the supermarket.

“The NAFDAC team came inside the mall and told us to close, even though people were many inside who wanted to do shopping but they couldn’t because the technical issue started and they all went away in disappointment”, the source said.

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