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Cut-price flights to America on the horizon as Government announces plans for carriers to fly from 'cheaper airports'





  • Rivals to Heathrow - Gatwick, Stansted, and Luton may be able to cut landing fees to attract airlines 

By Martin Robinson

PUBLISHED: 04:46 EST, 13 July 2012 | UPDATED: 04:55 EST, 13 July 2012

The cost of transatlantic flights could be slashed after the Government announced it would allow more international airlines to use Gatwick, Stansted and Luton.

A price war is being predicted that could break Heathrow's stranglehold on routes to America because rival airports will be able to reduce their landing fees.

The proposals set out in the Government's draft aviation strategy come after ministers were put under intense pressure to enable UK airlines to cash in on growing markets across the world.

Busy: Heathrow will see an unprecedented number of passengers fly in during the Games but there are fears they won't cope

Busy: Heathrow has the majority of flights to and from the US but these could be spread across other airports

Spreading the routes across other UK airports could make more routes financially viable, experts claim, and it could also increase the number of flights between the two countries.

It would also benefit people who pick up flights from America stopping over in Britain on the way to Asian destinations like Japan and China.

And the frustrating long immigration queues for those trying to enter America could also be cut for passengers.

Talks between US and British officials have already started to allow the four million Britons who go there every year to be cleared for entry at the UK airport they leave from.

American dream: Four million Britons go to the US every year but the plans could increase that number

American dream: Four million Britons go to the US every year but the plans could increase that number

Meanwhile the Government is still to set out its plans to solve the lack of runway space in south-east England - where the majority of people fly from.

The controversial plans to add a third runway at Heathrow or Boris Johnson's idea of a huge new airport in the Thames Estuary remain the two main options.

Critics say the lack of a decision will damage the British economy, and it is claimed the Coalition is split over the issue.

But Transport Secretary Justine Greening says no decision can be made until to the options are sure to be economical and green, which has infuriated industry leaders.

'The Government cannot keep kicking this issue into the long grass while our competitors gain at our expense,' Simon Buck, chief exec of the British Air Transport Association told the Telegraph.

Baroness Valentine, chief executive of business pressure group London First added: 'Difficult decisions on the location of additional  hub airport capacity cannot be avoided.'

The aviation strategy also includes stricter fines for noisy aircraft  to protect people whose lives are blighted by it.

Any breaches of noise limits would lead to a £1,000 fine, doubled from the current £500.


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