BAA told to spruce up Stansted operations

30.4.2008   (Telegraph)

By Jonathan Russell

The Civil Aviation Authority has added its voice to the criticisms of airport
operator BAA, saying it needs to improve operation and communications at Stansted
Airport.   The airport regulator said so as part of its referral of the pricing
mechanism at Stansted to the Competition Commission.


Stansted Airport
BAA said that it was planning to invest £1.4 billion in Stansted Airport over
the next five years

The report by the CAA said it had identified scope for further “airport efficiency
improvements” and that there was “scope for further improvement in consultation
with airlines”.

Despite the criticism of BAA, airlines said the report opened the door for over
inflated increases in landing charges at Stansted.

Ryanair called for the regulator to be dismissed and BAA to be broken up.

The airline is understood to be furious about guidance in the report that could
see landing charges at Stansted double.

The CAA has proposed a number of models for a new price cap at the airport, to
be introduced in April 2009.

The different models could see landing charges at Stansted, currently £6.39, fall to £4.50 or rise to £12.50. The different prices depend on a number of
factors, including how strict the regulation of the price cap is and if the airport
goes ahead with a second runway.

BAA said that, over the next five years, it was planning to invest £1.4bn in
facilities and preparatory work for the second runway.
  The company said it would “engage with the Competition Commission to ensure
that the importance of new capacity and sustained investment in quality airport
facilities is reflected in the new pricing regime”.

Last week, the Commission issued a report on BAA’s ownership of Heathrow, Gatwick
and Stansted, which could led to the break-up of the group.