easyJet Welcomes Debate on BAA Break-Up

has this afternoon welcomed the suggestion by the House of Commons Transport Select Committee that BAA plc should divest certain airports to ensure that the consumer gets a better deal.

easyJet has long argued that monopolies do not work in the interests of the consumer and that an intervention of some kind is needed to ensure that the consumer gets the best deal in London and elsewhere.

In its response to the UK Government’s consultation process on airport development in late June, easyJet raised the issue of the break-up of the BAA if a meaningful, competitive regime could not be introduced by the UK Civil Aviation Authority. Consumers will only know they are getting the best deal if, for example, Heathrow and Gatwick compete, rather than co-operate. The divestment by BAA of one or more of the London airports should be the ultimate, final sanction if a meaningful, competitive regime is not introduced.

However, rather than limiting attention to the London airports, easyJet also believes the situation is even more serious in Scotland where BAA controls the three major airports (Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen), but without even economic regulation to ensure costs are kept at a reasonable level.

Ray Webster
, easyJet Chief Executive, said:


“BAA plc is an excellent manager of airport facilities, but consumers will always be ripped-off by monopolies and we welcome the Select Committee’s contribution to the debate. We have long been concerned about the disparity in charges between those airports which operate in a truly competitive market and those that exert monopoly control. The consumer will only get the best deal when closely-located airports can compete with one another for airline traffic”

Related stories on ITN:

(11/07/2003) 50% of easyJet Customers Sign-Up for New Service

(07/07/2003) easyJet Announces Passenger Growth

(04/07/2003) easyJet calls for EU-wide Airline Quality Information