30 November 2022, Virtual
12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
The UK’s largest airport operator must sell Stansted airport and either Edinburgh or Glasgow, the Competition Commission (CC) has said.
Peter Freeman, CC chairman and head of the BAA Remedies Implementation Group, said a break-up of BAA would increase competition in the marketplace and address the “detrimental effects from BAA’s common owndership”.
BAA was originally told by the commission it would need to divest a number of its airports in March 2009.
In response, BAA sold Gatwick airport in December 2009, but then launched a legal appeal against being forced to sell any more.
This latest announcement from the CC marks a more final decision, after the Supreme Court refused BAA permission to appeal further, in February of this year.
“The introduction of new ownership at at Gatwick, whilst too recent for us to base any conclusions on, has also given a foretaste of the benefits competition can bring,” said Freeman.
“There has also been no cause to alter our view on the need for either Edinburgh or Glasgow to be under separate ownership.”
Stansted must be sold first – “as it serves the larger number of passengers who will benefit,” said Freeman – followed by one of the Scottish airports.
Low-cost carrier Ryanair, which has large operations out of Stansted, welcomed the CC decision to break-up the “BAA airport monopoly”.
Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said: “We eagerly await the sale of Stansted and Glasgow airports.
“The sooner those aorports are sold, the sooner competition will be allowed to improve airport facilities and lower airport charges at the BAA monopoly airports.”
The CC has now invited responses to its recommendation, before publishing a final verdict early this summer.