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Civil Aviation Act 2012

Section 3: Prohibition

38.If an operator of a dominant airport area located at a dominant airport does not have a licence for the dominant airport area, then section 3 states the operator is prohibited from levying charges for airport operation services.

39.“Dominant airport area” and “dominant airport” are defined in section 5.

40.The prohibition applies to all charges for airport operation services at the airport (other than those in respect of an area for which the operator has a licence), not just those levied in respect of the dominant airport area for which the licence is required. So, for example, if there was one operator of the entire airport but the area comprising the runway was the only dominant area, the operator could not levy charges for any airport operation services at the entire airport without a licence which covered the runway.

41.The licence must include a provision specifying the area covered by the licence (see section 17(1)). Therefore if a licensed operator of one dominant area at an airport became the operator of another dominant area which is not covered in its existing licence, the prohibition would apply to the newly acquired dominant area and any other area within the airport operated by that person not covered by its original licence.

Section 4: Prohibition: exemption

42.The effect of section 4 is that if a person is the operator of an airport area on the day on which the area becomes a dominant area, or on which the airport becomes a dominant airport, and the operator does not have a licence on that day, then the operator is exempt from the prohibition until a licence for that airport area is granted (or the operator’s application for such a licence is refused). Under section 14, such an operator is treated as having made and published an application for a licence. This is designed to protect existing operators of airport areas who would otherwise subsequently become subject to the prohibition.

43.Section 4 does not protect new operators of airport areas which are already dominant areas located at dominant airports (for example, an area comprising the terminals and runways at London Heathrow); otherwise a change in management control would result in the new operator of the dominant airport area not being subject to regulation.

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