BAA Loses Stansted Appeal

BAA has lost its appeal to retain ownership of London’s Stansted Airport. (BAA)

Airport operator BAA has lost its appeal against the Competition Commission’s (CC) ruling that it must sell London’s Stansted Airport.  The appeal was dismissed by the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, a judicial body of judges and industry experts.
The CC first ruled in 2009 that BAA’s market share in London and Scotland meant that it must sell Gatwick, Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports.  After selling Gatwick and Edinburgh, BAA continued to fight against the sale of Stansted.
In July 2011, BAA Chief Executive Colin Matthews said:  “The Competition Commission has not recognised that the world and BAA have changed.  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.”
BAA argued that as Stansted serves different airlines and a different market to Heathrow, it was not anti-competitive to operate both commodities.  However, the CC disagreed.
Laura Carnesten, a member of the original CC inquiry 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.”
A BAA spokesperson said that the company was disappointed and that it would now “carefully consider” the decision.