Stansted sale: BAA loses appeal against ruling
BAA has lost its appeal against a ruling by the Competition that it must sell Stansted airport. The CC first ruled 3 years ago that BAA’s dominance in London and Scotland meant it must sell Gatwick, Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports. BAA continued to fight the Stansted decision. Its appeal has now been dismissed by the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, a judicial body whose panel is made up of judges and industry experts. BAA had argued that Stansted served a different market from Heathrow, and are used by different airlines, so they argued it was not anti-competitive for it to operate both airports. BAA does not want to have to sell Stansted in such an unfavourable economic climate.
1 February 2012 (BBC)
Airport operator BAA has lost its appeal against a ruling that it must sell Stansted airport.
The Competition Commission first ruled three years ago that BAA’s dominance in London and Scotland meant it must sell Gatwick, Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports.
BAA sold Gatwick and recently agreed to sell Edinburgh, but it has continued to fight the Stansted decision.
Spanish-owned BAA also operates Heathrow, Southampton and Aberdeen.
Its appeal was dismissed by the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, a judicial body whose panel is made up of judges and industry experts.
The company will be unhappy about having to sell Stansted in such an unfavourable economic climate, BBC transport correspondent Richard Westcott said.
BAA argued that it was not reasonable to consider Stansted as serving the same market as its other London airport, Heathrow, as they serve different markets and are used by different airlines.
As a result, BAA said it was not anti-competitive for it to operate both airports, but the competition authority did not agree.
Responding to the tribunal’s ruling, Laura Carstensen, a member of the original Competition Commission inquiry which reported in 2009, said: “We are very pleased that our decision has been upheld.
“Whilst BAA is of course entitled to explore the available avenues for challenge, it is now surely time for BAA to accept our findings and proceed with the necessary divestments.
Speaking in July last year, BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: “The Competition Commission has not recognised that the world and BAA have changed.
“A new government has changed aviation policy to rule out any new runway capacity in the South East and BAA has sold Gatwick Airport.
“Both are significant changes to the airport market. Further, the airports in question face increased competition from non-BAA airports, particularly those in Europe, for the business of low cost carriers who now take a pan-European view of the market.”
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Comment from Stop Stansted Expansion :
COMPETITION APPEAL TRIBUNAL DISMISSES BAA CHALLENGE ON STANSTED AIRPORT
Further to the Competition Appeal Tribunal ruling this morning [1 February 2012] dismissing BAA’s challenge to the requirement that Stansted Airport must be sold, Stop Stansted Expansion has issued the following comment, attributable to its Economics Adviser, Brian Ross:
“BAA has been appealing against the Competition Commission ruling that it must sell Stansted for almost three years now. The whole purpose has simply been to delay the inevitable and to serve the interests of its shareholders with little regard for the impacts on Stansted’s employees and the local community. While all this has been going on, Stansted has lost more than 25% of its passenger throughput. It has all the characteristics of a scorched earth policy.”
Submissions made by SSE in recent years to the Competition Commission market inquiry into BAA’s monopoly are accessible online at: http://www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/economics.html
Older news items on the Stansted sale:
BAA opts to sell Edinburgh airport for £500m and keep Glasgow
October 20, 2011 BAA is putting Edinburgh Airport up for sale with an estimated price tag of about £500m. They chose Edinburgh instead of Glasgow, as it would fetch a higher price, is performing better and would be easier to sell. Bidders include GIP (owns Gatwick), Manchester Airports Group, Borealis Infrastructure, and Macquarie. BAA is now starting sale preparations and expects to formally approach the market in the New Year in order to agreeing a sale by Summer 2012. Click here to view full story…
BAA ordered to sell Glasgow or Edinburgh airport before selling Stansted
October 8, 2011 BAA has been told by the Competition Commission that it must sell either Edinburgh or Glasgow before it sells Stansted. Earlier this year it had said BAA should sell Stansted first, but BAA appealed which has caused delay. So now the sale of one of the Scottish airports must be brought forward, and will begin soon, as it will take longer for Stansted to be sorted out. BAA says it is now clearer than ever “that Heathrow & Stansted serve different markets.” Click here to view full story…
BAA considers appeal to EU human rights court over forced ‘fire sale’ of two airports
25th July 2011 BAA is considering appealing to the European Court of Human Rights in a last-ditch attempt to avoid having to sell 2 airports, saying having to sell them now is unfair as they will fetch a poor price. Last week the CC issued what it claimed was a final ruling, after years, that BAA must sell Stansted and Edinburgh or Glasgow. BAA’s Spanish owner, Ferrovial, is considering a judicial review, which even if unsuccessful could delay a sale process until 2012. Click here to view full story…
BAA must sell off two airports
19th July 2011 The Competition Commission has givenits final ruling, that BAA must sell 2 of its UK airports – Stansted followed by either Edinburgh or Glasgow. The sale process will start in 3 months “or sooner if undertakings are accepted from BAA in the meantime”, the CC said. This follows a provisional ruling on the sales made in March this year and ends a two-year saga which began in March 2009 when the CC made what was seen then as a final report on BAA’s airport ownership. Click here to view full story…
SSE says: Time for BAA to accept defeat at Stansted
19th July 2011 Stop Stansted Expansion has condemned BAA’s suggestion that it will apply for judicial review of today’s final verdict from the Competition Commission ordering BAA to sell Stansted Airport by the end of next year. SSE say the uncertainty has gone on far too long and BAA should now respect the CC’s ruling and the courts and sell Stansted as quickly as possible. BAA should not be allowed a repetition of the previous lengthy appeal process. Click here to view full story…
BAA set for legal fight if ordered to sell airports
18th July 2011 BAA could seek a judicial review against the Competition Commission if, as expected, it is ordered to sell Stansted and one of its Scottish airports. The CC indicated earlier this year in a preliminary review of a 2009 ruling that it was still minded to order the forced divestments in order to increase competition in the airport market in south-east England and Scotland. The final report on 19th is expected to give BAA 18 months to arrange an auction. Click here to view full story…
Manchester Airport interested in buying Stansted and a Scottish hub
19th May 2011 MAG has confirmed its interest in buying Stansted and possibly Glasgow or Edinburgh. It would seek to bring in more long-haul airlines and cut Stansted’s dependence on low-cost airlines in general and Ryanair in particular – which it sees as risky. The timetable for the sell-off is still unclear. MAG currently owns Manchester, East Midlands, Bournemouth and Humberside airports. For debt-laden BAA, the prospect of securing a good price may appear dim. Click here to view full story…