Passengers travelling through Heathrow Airport face being hit by an increase in charges of more than 50% from next month.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given the green light to raise the cap on the airport’s price per passenger to £30.19 from 1 January.
At the moment, the charge is £19.60.
While charges are paid by airlines, they are generally passed on to passengers in air fares, meaning travellers could be looking at more costly trips abroad from next year.
The CAA said the £30.19 cap “reflects the uncertainty of the recovery of passenger volumes at the airport from the pandemic”, particularly in light of the emergence of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant.
It said the cap will move up or down depending on various factors, such as passenger numbers and commercial revenue.
In September, Heathrow said its losses from the pandemic had hit £3.4 billion, while passenger numbers are around 40% of pre-pandemic levels.
A decision on a long-term cap, which is expected to begin in summer 2022 and run to 2027, is due to be announced early next year.
A spokesman for Heathrow said he was “extremely disappointed” with the interim figure of £30.19, as the airport had called for the cap to range from £32 to £43.
He claimed it “relies on rushed analysis and will undermine passenger experience” at the airport.
He added: “There are material and basic errors in many aspects of the CAA’s assessment.
“Uncorrected, this risks leaving Heathrow without sufficient cash flow to support investment in improving passenger service and resilience.”
Luis Gallego, chief executive of British Airways’ parent company IAG, said the firm is disappointed at the news Heathrow charges will increase even further, as the airport is “ “already 44% more expensive than its European competitors”.
Mr Galleho said: “After the worst crisis in aviation history we need to attract demand to stay competitive.
“Hiking charges will have the opposite effect. Britain will become not more competitive, but less.
“A cost-efficient Heathrow would benefit UK consumers, businesses and trade. Global Britain needs a global and competitive hub.”