BA calls for BAA break-up

British Airways is calling on the Office of Fair Trading to refer its
study on the UK airports’ market to the Competition Commission because
of its concerns about current airport regulation and ownership.In its response to the Office of Fair Trading’s consultation into the UK
airports’ market, the airline says the Competition Commission should
recommend airport regulation that delivers a better outcome for
consumers and airlines. It should also enhance competition in the UK
airports’ market and provide an effective framework for future airport
growth.

British Airways says that separate ownership of London Heathrow and
London Stansted airports should be considered by the Competition
Commission. The airline believes that decisions on new runway
construction in South East England should not be concentrated in the
hands of one company.

In the event of a break-up of BAA, the airline says that there will be a
continued need for strong regulation to protect users against monopoly
power, particularly at London Heathrow and London Gatwick.

British Airways’ chief executive, Willie Walsh, said: “The Competition
Commission has an important role to play in determining the future of UK
airports. Separate ownership of London Heathrow and London Stansted
would make infrastructure developments at the airports more responsive
to airlines’ and their customers’ needs and expansion at one airport
would not be held back to suit the commercial needs of a monopoly
owner.”

The airline believes that there should be increased competition within
the London airports and is proposing that competitive tendering is
introduced for a wider range of services at airports such as providing
IT systems.

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It wants improvements to the regulatory framework governing BAA’s London
airports such as the introduction of a licence. This would enable the
Civil Aviation Authority, as regulator, to enforce service quality
guarantees as is the case with some utility companies.

Willie Walsh added: “We want to see sharper incentives for better
customer service and for BAA to be more responsive to the needs of its
users”.

British Airways has also been nominated this year for a

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World Travel Award as World’s Leading Airline.
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