The Office of Fair Trading is to study the UK airports market with a view to establishing whether the current market structure works well for consumers.The decision to proceed to a market study reflects the importance of airports to consumers and businesses within the UK.
Nearly two thirds of UK air passengers begin or end their journey at BAA airports. Within the London area this rises to nine out of ten passengers, and in Scotland over eight out of ten air passengers fly from a BAA airport.
At this stage the OFT has not reached a decision on whether a reference for a more in-depth investigation by the Competition Commission is warranted.
OFT Chief Executive John Fingleton said:
‘Greater competition between airlines over the past decade has led to wider choice for air travellers and lower fares. We now think it is time to explore the potential for greater competition within the airport industry as this could ultimately yield significant benefits in terms of timely and adequate investment in UK airports, a better value service to the UK travelling public as well as potentially relieving the industry - and ultimately its customers - of the costs of regulation that may be disproportionate.’