The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal has overturned the Competition Commission’s 2009 ruling.
February 26: The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has overturned the Competition Commission’s (CC) 2009 ruling ordering BAA to sell London Gatwick, Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow International airports.
BAA appealed on the basis that it considered the CC’s original decision “biased” as one of the commission members was a paid financial adviser to Manchester Airport, one of BAA’s competitors. Since the ruling Gatwick Airport has been sold to Global Infrastructure Partners, but BAA was resisting further sales until the appeal had been determined.
The CAT determined “with the greatest reluctance” that the original findings of the CC in March 2009 should be quashed and that the CC should reconsider and “make a new decision”.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, who had challenged the appeal as he feared it would delay the sale of Stansted, said “The original CC decision to order the break-up of the BAA airport monopoly was welcomed by the entire airline industry, passengers and the national media. Today’s decision, which appears to be based on a legal technicality (or irrelevancy), will now delay the much needed introduction of competition and consumer choice at Stansted by at least two years.”