Call repeated for BAA airport sale
The UK-based Competition Commission has renewed its call for BAA to sell London Stansted Airport and either Edinburgh or Glasgow Airport. The ruling is provisional, and a finalized report is due out in a few months.
The organization published a report in March 2009 that recommended BAA sell Gatwick and Stansted as well as two of its other airports within two years. BAA sold Gatwick in late 2009, and had appealing the commission’s decision to sell the other airports. In February, the Supreme Court rescinded the company’s ability to continue the appeal process.
BAA currently owns both Lodon Heathrow and London Stansted as well as airports in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Southampton.
The UK government recently decided against adding new runways at London airports. The commission decided that, even with the moratorium on expansion, a more varied ownership would still benefit consumers by “increasing competition and addressing detrimental effects from BAA’s common ownership.”
“We remain convinced that the original decision to require BAA to divest three airports is the right one for passengers and airlines. If anything since the report, there now appears to be greater capacity available which will increase the potential for competition between the London airports,” the commission’s Peter Freeman said in a statement.
“The introduction of new ownership at Gatwick,” he continued, “whilst too recent for us to base any conclusions on, has also given a foretaste of the benefits competition can bring. There has also been no cause to alter our view on the need for either Edinburgh or Glasgow to be under separate ownership.”
A statement on the BAA’s website said the company believes there has been “a material change in circumstances since the Commission’s report was published in March 2009.”
BAA’s February traffic reports showed that its Scottish airports all experienced year-over-year growth, with the most extensive increase coming at Edinburgh, where it experienced a 5 percent overall growth and a 20.7 percent bump on European routes. Traffic at Stansted decreased year-over-year by 6.3 percent.