BAA finally runs out of runway at Stansted and loses Appeal Court legal challenge
BAA lost its latest challenge today against a decision forcing it to sell Stansted. The appeal by the Spanish-owned company was rejected by three Court of Appeal judges in London. In 2009 the Competition Commission ruled that BAA must sell Stansted and two of its other UK airports, and BAA has since mounted a series of unsuccessful legal challenges against the decision. Earlier this year BAA lost an appeal before the Competition Appeal Tribunal. A BAA spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the Competition Commission. We will now consider its judgement carefully and we intend to submit an appeal to the Supreme Court.”
BAA FINALLY RUNS OUT OF RUNWAY AT STANSTED
26.7.2012 (Stop Stansted Expansion)
The Court of Appeal today (26 July 2012) dismissed BAA’s latest legal challenge to the 2009 Competition Commission ruling that the airport operator must sell Stansted Airport.
This is BAA’s fifth legal challenge in its long-running battle to retain ownership of Stansted and it now finally appears that BAA has exhausted all its legal options and has no choice but to invite bids for its Essex airport with a likely price tag of around £1.2 billion.
Potential buyers include a range of global infrastructure funds as well as Manchester Airports Group (MAG) which currently owns airports at Bournemouth, East Midlands, Humberside and, of course, Manchester and, reportedly, has long been keen to acquire an airport in the South East.
SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: “We hope that with a new owner there will be an opportunity for constructive dialogue based on maximising the local benefits of the airport and minimising its adverse impacts.”
BAA’s main complaint at the start of this long-running legal battle was that it was being forced to sell Stansted at the worst possible time in terms of the economic downturn. Ironically, it seems now that it would have been far better for BAA to have promptly sold Stansted in 2009 since the airport now handles 15 per cent fewer passengers compared to three years ago.
NOTES TO EDITORS
• Today’s Court of Appeal judgment was handed down by Lord Justice Mummery, Lord Justice Rimer and Lord Justice Sullivan following the Appeal Hearing on Monday 23 July. It was an expedited ‘read out’ judgment and in due course will be written up and posted on http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/ under BAA v Competition Commission.
• This long-running saga began in June 2006 with the launch of a study by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) into BAA’s dominance of the UK airports market. In March 2007 the OFT concluded that competition was being distorted by BAA’s market dominance and referred the case to the Competition Commission for more extensive investigation. The Competition Commission took two years to complete its investigation and it concluded, in March 2009, that BAA should be forced to sell Gatwick, Stansted and one of its Scottish airports. BAA has since sold Gatwick and Edinburgh airports but has continued to resist the forced sale of Stansted. The legal battle has lasted more than three years. For further background – see – http://www.competition-commission.org.uk/our-work/baa-airports
• Following the sale of Stansted, BAA will still own Heathrow, Southampton, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports, giving it a 37 per cent share of the UK airports market.
BAA loses Stansted legal challenge
Airport operator BAA lost its latest challenge today against a decision forcing it to sell Stansted Airport in Essex.
The appeal by the Spanish-owned company was rejected by three Court of Appeal judges in London.
In 2009 the Competition Commission (CC) ruled that BAA must sell Stansted in Essex and two of its other UK airports.
BAA has since mounted a series of unsuccessful legal challenges against the decision.
Earlier this year BAA lost an appeal before the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
In their ruling today Lord Justice Mummery, Lord Justice Rimer and Lord Justice Sullivan dismissed BAA’s challenge against the decision of the appeal tribunal.
Since the CC decision, BAA has sold Gatwick Airport in West Sussex and, faced with having to dispose of either Edinburgh Airport or Glasgow Airport, it has opted to sell Edinburgh.
However, the airports operator said it’s battle to cling on to Stansted, which is the only London airport with significant capacity to grow, does not end today as it plans to take its appeal to the Supreme Court.
A BAA spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the Competition Commission. We will now consider its judgement carefully and we intend to submit an appeal to the Supreme Court.”
BAA chief executive Colin Matthews told the Guardian newspaper yesterday that although Stansted’s traffic has continued to decline this year, he was confident it would rebound rapidly when the economy starts to recover.
Older news on this:
BAA given last chance to appeal Stansted sale
May 28, 2012 At the Royal Courts of Justice in London, BAA was told it could make its case for the final time before the Court of Appeal. No date has been set for a hearing. This means the 3-year long battle by BAA to avoid having to sell Stansted drags on, yet again. The legal battle started back in March 2009 with a Competition Commission ruling that ordered the break-up of BAA. It has already had to sell Gatwick and Edinburgh airports, and BAA argues that the aviation market has changed substantially since the original ruling. It also stresses that Stansted does not compete with its only other remaining London airport, Heathrow. The airport’s MD says the ownership battle had hampered the airport’s ability to grow and attract more airlines, and it has lost about a quarter of its passengers since 2007. Click here to view full story…
BAA LAUNCHES YET ANOTHER APPEAL OVER STANSTED
February 29, 2012 BAA has announced that it has initiated appeal proceedings against the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s judgment of 1 February 2012, upholding the Competition Commission’s ruling that BAA must sell Stansted Airport. This means that the uncertainty over the future ownership of Stansted Airport is set to continue for at least another six months. Once again, BAA has waited until the very last day before lodging its appeal – just a few hours before the deadline. Click here to view full story…
Stansted sale: BAA loses appeal against ruling
February 1, 2012 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. Click here to view full story…