easyJet has requested the Civil Aviation Authority to make BAA’s failing finances public under the Freedom of Information Act.In a letter sent to CAA, easyJet’s Chief Executive Andy Harrison asked for the immediate release of detailed information of the financial status of both BAA and the Ferrovial Group in order to have clarity about the risk posed to the airline industry and the UK economy as a whole.
easyJet has been alarmed by statements made by BAA’s Chief Executive Stephen Nelson to the CAA on 29th January when Mr Nelson suggested that “forward looking uncertainty is far greater than before the crisis” and said that “it is essential that BAA’s financial position is not further negatively impacted”. Following these statements, easyJet requested BAA to provide information on its financial condition, but so far to no avail.
Andy Harrison, easyJet’s Chief Executive, said:
“Whilst overhauling airport regulation is a necessity, making BAA’s failed finances public is an emergency. The company is highly indebted and there is much speculation about its financial survival. It is crucial to the UK economy and the flying public to know whether there is a ‘Southern Rock’ looming.”
Following the acquisition of BAA by Grupo Ferrovial of Spain, and the subsequent delisting of BAA which had been quoted on the London Stock Exchange, the amount of information available in the public domain about BAA’s financial condition has shrunk dramatically. However, as the dominant airport operator and a supplier of services that are critical to the UK economy, easyJet is convinced that much greater transparency is essential to protect the public interest.
The letter followed this week’s announcement by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of dramatic price rises at Heathrow and Gatwick, which were criticised by all major UK airlines. Over the next five years, the regulator will allow charges at Heathrow to increase on a like-for-like basis from £10.36 to £19.31 - a rise of 86%; whilst at Gatwick charges will increase by 49% from £5.61 to £8.36.