Stansted to be sold off

The Competition Commission confirmed today that BAA will be required to sell Stansted airport.Following its investigation, the Commission said, subject to final consultation, Stansted, Gatwick and Edinburgh airports should be sold to separate, independent buyers in order to stimulate competition and improve standards.

The Competition Commission confirmed today that BAA will be required to sell Stansted airport.

Following its investigation, the Commission said, subject to final consultation, Stansted, Gatwick and Edinburgh airports should be sold to separate, independent buyers in order to stimulate competition and improve standards.

It intends to seek views on the timing of the sale of Stansted in light of the forthcoming planning inquiry into a second runway.

Christopher Clarke, chairman of the BAA Airports inquiry, said: “Under separate ownership, the airport operators, including BAA, will have a much greater incentive to be far more responsive to their customers, both airlines and passengers.”

The Commission plans to introduce measures early next year to improve investment and service levels at Heathrow airport, and possibly Gatwick and Stansted as well, to ensure the needs of airlines, passengers and other airport users are met more effectively.

It will also make recommendations to the Government on a more effective system of airport regulation and on aspects of government airports policy. This will include a recommendation to amend legislation to allow for terminals to be developed or redeveloped and operated separately from runway facilities.

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Mr Clarke added: “We recognise that current capacity constraints in the South East will limit the pace of development of competition. Even in the short term, however, we expect benefits from different approaches to airport management as well as greater initiative in longer term planning and development of new investment which will be critical to sustained effective competition.”

The Competition Commission will now consider responses to its provisional decision document published today (www.competition-commission.org.uk). It expects to publish its final report on the airports inquiry in late February or early March next year.