BAA not selling airports, sacking staff

BAA, the UK’s largest airport operator, is denying media reports that it is planning to cut 2,000 jobs. The owner of Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick has also denied that it plans to sell any airports. The Times newspaper reported on Thursday that jobs are to be slashed from its global work force of 15,000. However, BAA has said it is undertaking a review of back-office functions, which did not involve security or customer service staff at its airports.

“Ferrovial have a huge debt burden, and they can’t sustain that,” The Times quoted a BAA source as saying. “They are really drilling down costs, and there is going to be a complete restructuring of the business, with a couple of thousand of jobs going. It cannot be the security staff, but every other element of the business is up for review.”

“No conclusions have yet been reached and the review is ongoing,” BAA said.

With revenues of £2.27 billion in 2005/06, BAA is being investigated by the UK’s Competition Commission due to “widespread public criticisms’‘, particularly of the length of security queues as well as “poor quality of service and facilities’’ at BAA-run airports.

BAA runs a total of seven UK airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen and more than 60 percent of all UK air travellers passed through these airports in 2005.