Azara Blog: Competition Commission wants BAA to sell Stansted and Gatwick

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Date published: 2008/12/17

The BBC says:

The Competition Commission has said it will require BAA to sell Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh airports.

The watchdog says the decision is subject to a final consultation but is necessary to improve levels of service at UK airports.

In August, the watchdog had said BAA may have to sell three of its airports because of a lack of competition.

BAA said that it did not believe the Commission had "compelling evidence" that Stansted should be sold.

It added that there was "no justification" for specifying which Scottish airport should be sold.

"We do not believe that it has set out compelling evidence to support its view that selling Stansted as well as Gatwick will increase competition and we remain concerned that its proposed remedies may actually delay the introduction of new runway capacity," BAA said.

It is blatantly obvious that "selling Stansted as well as Gatwick will increase competition". Currently there is really no competition to BAA, except for Luton, in the London area, which is far and away the biggest UK market for air travel. All three major airports should indeed be run by separate companies. Whether that actually improves anything as far as customers are concerned is a different matter. Much of the problems at Heathrow, and in the near future at Stansted, are down to the government pissing about with planning permission (in particular for extra runways). Having a new owner will not sort that out. But at least other operational issues might improve (but it's not totally obvious).

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