Airlines have responded furiously to proposals by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to increase charges at London's leading airports from next year.

At Gatwick, the CAA proposes that charges are capped at RPI plus one per cent. For Heathrow, the busiest airport in Europe, the CAA proposes below-inflation increases, capped at RPI minus 1.3 per cent.

Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, British Airways' parent company, described Heathrow as "over-priced, over-rewarded and inefficient". But Heathrow said a below-inflation increase "will put passenger service at risk by not attracting the necessary investment".