This week British Airways (BA) received the keys of their shiny new Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport. The new 69 thousand square meters terminal is 5 times bigger than Terminal 4 currently used by BA. The huilding will host 25 restaurants, 6 business lounges and 18 thousand square meters of shops in total. The total costs of the new terminal will rise as high as GBP 4.3 billion. The designer was Richard Rogers Partnership and construction started in September, 2002. The baggage system is the biggest, single-terminal baggage handling system in Europe, containing 18km of belts and capable of transporting 12,000 bags per hour around the terminal. From now on 30 thousand BA and BAA (British Airport Authorities) employees will work to get prepared for the opening on March 27, 2008.
In the meantime UK CAA this week published the Competition Commission report on price controls for London Heathrow and Gatwick airports for the next five-year period. The CC recommended that the maximum per-passenger charge at LHR rise to £10.96 ($22.35) in 2008-09, with charges subsequently increasing by no more than retail price index inflation plus 7.5% each year. For LGW it proposed that charges rise to a maximum £5.48 in 2008-09, subsequently growing by no more than RPI inflation minus 0.5% annually.
The agency also noted that the CC found that both LHR and LGW, “in failing to manage security queuing and queue times to avoid unacceptable delays to passengers, crew and flights, have acted against the public interest,” and that the CC proposed that these problems can be remedied through a broadening and strengthening of existing service quality regulations.
Naturally airlines complained about the high prices as it is against their initiatives to decrease costs and make air travel more cost-efficient for passengers.