BAA has been told to sell both Gatwick and Stansted airports as well as Edinburgh airport by the Competition Commission following a market investigation. It currently owns a total of seven airports in the UK including Heathrow.
Christopher Clarke, chairman of the BAA Airports inquiry, said: Having provisionally identified competition problems at each of BAA’s seven airports, we are proposing remedies which address them directly and comprehensively through a combination of divestment and other measures to improve investment and levels of service. The most effective way to introduce competition in the South-East and in lowland Scotland is to require the three London airports and the two principal Scottish airports to be separately owned.
“Hence we are proposing the sale of Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh airports to new independent owners with the operating capabilities and financial resources to develop each of them as effective competitors. Under the common ownership of BAA, there is no competition. Under separate ownership, the airport operators, including BAA, will have a much greater incentive to be far more responsive to their customers, both airlines and passengers.”
The CC said it would now consider responses to this provisional decision document and it expected to publish its final report in late February or early March 2009.