Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BAA Break Up Likely: Report

Media reports are suggesting the Competition Commission will recommend that airport operator BAA is broken up.

The Observer reported that the competition watchdog is likely to call for the company to sell at least one of its airport sites.

The newspaper said the most likely candidate for sale is Gatwick, London's "second airport".

The Commission is due to reveal the outcome of its inquiry into BAA within the next two weeks.

Competition Commission Airport Investigation

The Competition Commission has been investigating BAA since 2007 on the grounds that the company's ownership seven major UK airports, including the three key London hubs at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, may not be in the best interests of airlines and passengers.

Airline bosses such as Virgin Atlantic's Sir Richard Branson and Ryanair's Michael O'Leary have been vocal in encouraging the Commission to separate BAA.

They believe BAA's ownership is restricting the modernisation of UK airports and, where Heathrow is concerned, leading to the extensive delays and congestion at the airport.

For further background to the story, see the links below.

Airport Competition Inquiry Findings

The Commission itself has refused to comment on the Observer report as to the findings of its airport competition inquiry.

However, the Commission released a preliminary report earlier this year which said BAA's ownership of the three London hubs "not be serving well the best interests of airlines or passengers".

Analysts say this is a likely indication that BAA will be forced to sell off at least one of its sites.

Source - Airport International's Aviation Correspondent

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