July 1, 2008

Break-Up of BAA Mooted

By Anonymous

Breaking up airport owner BAA could bring better planned and more rapid growth of capacity, the Competition Commission said this week. The commission indicated that it would advise selling off some airports in its final report, due this summer. BAA owns Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Southampton Airports.

The commission found that BAA's "development of infrastructure in the longer term has generally been too late to meet demand", handling just one major project at once. Separate ownership might therefore create more incentives to improve or expand, it suggested.

A spokesman for Crawley Borough Council, whose area covers Gatwick, said it would be unhappy if the competition review raises the spectre of a second runway.

The 2M group of councils around Heathrow said BAA's concentration of ownership "gives it disproportionate influence over the government" and called for a policy of restraining growth by a switch from short-haul flights to high-speed rail.

BAA insisted that its ownership is in passengers' interests in terms of following through major facilities investment commitments.

Airports: growth held back

BAA market investigation details are available at PlanningResource.co.uk/doc

Copyright Haymarket Business Publications Ltd. Apr 25, 2008

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