BAA backs new legislation by air regulators

BAA today said it welcomed legislation that would "improve the experience for passengers" as the Government considers new plans to fine airports millions of pounds.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said he wanted the air regulators to have new powers after Heathrow ground to a halt during the big freeze last week, ruining the holidays of tens of thousands of people.



A spokesman for BAA said: "We will of course play a full part in the Government's discussions about this year's weather disruption and will make public the findings of our own independent investigation.



"We welcome legislation designed to improve the experience for passengers at the UK's airports."



Mr Hammond told The Sunday Times it was unacceptable that BAA, which runs Britain's busiest airport, faced no punishment from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) under the current regime.



He said: "There should be an economic penalty for service failure. Greater weight needs to be given to performance and passenger satisfaction."



Ministers are considering a new airport economic regulation Bill, which would give more powers to impose fines for a wide range of service failures.



Under the existing system, fines can be imposed by the CAA for failures like passenger queues at security and cleanliness. The maximum total penalty is said to be 7% of airport charges, resulting in a potential sum of £63 million.



BAA chief executive Colin Matthews announced he would forgo his annual bonus after last week's extended disruption at Heathrow.



The firm, which is owned by a Spanish conglomerate, found itself unable to shift snow and ice from runways and aircraft gates, paralysing the gateway for several days.



Prime Minister David Cameron was among those who voiced his frustration at the disruption, and BAA has since launched an investigation into the problems.



There were also flight disruptions at Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as Gatwick, London Luton and London City airports and across Europe.



The EU Commission slammed the continent's air travel disruption as unacceptable and urged airports to "get serious" about better planning for bad weather.



Meanwhile, Northern Ireland bore the brunt of the wintry conditions with Katesbridge in Banbridge, County Down falling to -16.9C overnight.



Clare Allen, forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "Northern Ireland has had a short spell of snow today but it's mainly sleet and rain."



The Met Office issued a severe weather warning for widespread ice on roads and pavements in Northern Ireland, as daytime temperatures struggled to get above 4C.



Much of the UK is experiencing a bitterly cold Boxing Day with most areas below freezing. More snow was expected to fall in parts of southern Scotland.



Tomorrow will see milder conditions as maximum temperatures are expected to reach 8C in south west England.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high