Stansted Airport will be sold

STANSTED Airport will have to be sold within the next two years, the Competition Commission (CC) ruled today (Thursday March 19). Airport owners BAA have been ordered to sell three of their seven UK airports in sequence – Gatwick is already up for sale, S

STANSTED Airport will have to be sold within the next two years, the Competition Commission (CC) ruled today (Thursday March 19).

Airport owners BAA have been ordered to sell three of their seven UK airports in sequence - Gatwick is already up for sale, Stansted will be next and then either Edinburgh or Glasgow will follow.

Chairman of the BAA Airports inquiry Christopher Clarke said: "We are confident that the sale of these airports will bring substantial benefits to passengers and airlines.

"We expect that the new airport owners, with the operating capabilities and financial resources to develop them as effective competitors, will have a much greater incentive than BAA to be more responsive to their customers."


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BAA's seven airports account for more than 60 per cent of all passengers using UK airports. More significantly Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Southampton account for 90 per cent of airport passengers in south-east England.

The two-year inquiry has concluded that the lack of competition has had adverse effects for both passengers and airlines.

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"We recognize that in using our powers in this way, we will have a significant impact on BAA's business," said Mr Clarke. "However, given the nature and scale of the competition problems we have found, we do not consider that alternative measures, such as the sale of only one of the London airports or greater regulation, will suffice."

A BAA spokesman said: "BAA will consider the CC's report carefully before deciding how to respond.

"We accept the need to change and, having reorganised to improve customer service and having initiated the sale of Gatwick, BAA is already changing.

"However, we believe the CC's analysis is flawed and its remedies may be impractical in current economic conditions."

The CC hope that the sale of the airports will kick-start a process of competitive rivalry from a standing start where today there is no competition at all. The ruling could result in lower prices, improved customer service and more efficient investment.

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