The Service Quality Rebate Scheme was introduced by the CAA to identify the service standards that airlines and passengers could expect from Heathrow in return for the regulatory charges they paid. Where performance falls below a certain level, Heathrow must repay a proportion of charges levied back to the airlines. The service quality rebate scheme is a Licence condition in Q6.
In summary, the scheme has the following key features:
- Provides an incentive to the airport to meet set standards of service quality;
- Rebate payments are made monthly to airlines;
- The maximum amount of rebates that could be paid is 7% of airport charges
- Rebates are paid on performance in an individual terminal apart from control posts where any rebate is paid to the whole airline community and the Aerodrome Congestion Term which is calculated and paid for the airfield as a whole
The rebate scheme covers the following aspects of Heathrow's performance:
- Queuing at the departures security search area, transfers security search, staff search, and control posts search (this is the security search for catering, flight crews and maintenance equipment), and the availability of pier service for aircraft.
- Passenger perception of the availability of seating in the departures lounge, the quality of flight information systems, how easy it is to find their way around, and the cleanliness of toilets and concourse areas within the terminal buildings, security processes and wifi ease of use.
- Passenger Sensitive Equipment (PSE), which includes lifts, escalators, conveyors (moving walkways), and Terminal 5 track transit system. The PSE has been split into two groups, a priority list and a general list, to ensure key equipment is identified and monitored closely, whilst keeping the rest of the equipment maintained.
- Other equipment in the scheme, including: arrivals baggage reclaim belts, fixed electrical ground power (for aircraft on stands), stands, jetties, pre-conditioned air (for aircraft), and stand entry guidance (to assist aircraft parking).
Changes to the scheme in Q6 include:
- Passenger security queue standard will move to a per passenger basis during Q6 with the same standard applying to transfer and direct passengers.
- A control post standard based on performance of control post groupings, rather than campus wide performance, with Heathrow required to meet the standard in all five groupings
The scheme also includes a bonus element on passenger satisfaction measures to reward high performance that benefits passengers. The maximum additional revenue achievable via bonuses at Heathrow is 1.44 % of airport charges.