British Airways today welcomed the decision by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to approve the group`s acquisition of Gatwick-based CityFlyer Express.
During the Competition Commission`s investigation into the deal British Airways initiated and offered to agree to significant undertakings to allay fears relating to slots and competition issues. The undertakings and the proposed time scales put forward by the Secretary of State seem likely to be acceptable to the airline.
Bob Ayling, British Airways Chief Executive said: ” I am delighted that the Secretary of State has accepted the recommendations from the Director General of Fair Trading (DGFT) and that there is no requirement for British Airways to divest slots.
“The recommendations expressly preserve the benefits of the British Airways operation at Gatwick and provide us with the flexibility to expand at the lunch time peak and at other times of the day.
“The good news will underpin our successful franchising strategy and the role of Gatwick. Our new subsidiary will continue to play a vital role in the profitable development of Gatwick and help protect the thousands of jobs that depend on it.”
Brad Burgess, Managing Director of CityFlyer Express said: “This is the news we have been waiting for. It removes months of uncertainty for our customers and employees. Because of the strong relationship we have built with British Airways, the airline was naturally our preferred long term partner. Membership of the British Airways group will deliver substantial long term benefits, enabling us to continue to grow our business here at Gatwick. Today`s decision means the future for CityFlyer looks brighter and more certain than ever .”
British Airways will now begin discussions with the Director General of Fair Trading for implementation of the undertakings.