British Airways will be urging the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to reconsider its proposal to allow Heathrow and Gatwick to raise their passenger handling fees over the coming five years.

The CAA this morning said in its initial price proposal for 2014 to 2019 that Heathrow would be allowed to set its fees at RPI (Retail Price Index) minus 1.3 per cent, while Gatwick would be able to increase its charges by RPI plus one per cent.

A final decision will be announced in January 2014. Willie Walsh, IAG chief executive, said: ““Heathrow airport is over-priced, over-rewarded and inefficient and these proposals, which will result in an increase in prices, fail to address this situation.

“In the past the CAA has rewarded Heathrow for inefficiency and it is now the most expensive hub airport in the world. Its charges have tripled in the last 11 years with inflation busting increases year-on-year.

“The Gatwick proposals, which will result in a significant increase in charges, are completely unjustifiable, totally unacceptable and directly contravene the CAA’s new remit to represent customers’ interests.

“The CAA must not be allowed to fail again. In line with its new remit, Dame Deirdre Hutton and the CAA board should protect customers and ensure that they get a better deal.

“We will make strong representations to Dame Deirdre and the board to reconsider this proposal.”

Airlines, for the first time, have the right to appeal to the Competition Commission on the final judgement when the CAA announces next January.