On the point of having a transparent pricing policy so that passengers know where they stand, one UK airport, preferring to remain anonymous, told TRBusiness: “Legally we can’t do anything that influences pricing of our business partners [ie retailers]. In any case, retail contracts are typically several years long and we can only change them by mutual agreement.”
TRBusiness put that to the test by asking leading law firm Mishcon de Reya if there is any legal impediment to prevent an airport landlord from advising its retail tenants to sell their products at, for example, the High Street price minus 20% (the VAT rate in the UK).
Partner, Andrij Jurkiw, said: “From a Competition Law perspective, there is no specific guidance on the question of whether a landlord such as an airport operator could insist that its retail tenants charge prices which are net of VAT.
“The Competition Rules endeavour to prevent a supplier or wholesaler from dictating what prices are charged by retailers for goods supplied by that supplier/wholesaler – but an airport operator is not typically a wholesaler supplying goods to retail outlets based at the airport.”