BAA drops fight against Stansted sale
Aug 21st, 2012 by elisa

Airport operator, BAA, has decided to drop any further action against the Competition Commission ruling that it must sell Stansted Airport.

Last month, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the original Competition Commission ruling first given in 2009 that ordered it to sell Stansted, Gatwick and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports. It has already finalised sales for the other two airports, Gatwick and Edinburgh, to Global Infrastructure Partnerships.

In a statement, BAA said: “Having carefully considered the Court of Appeal’s ruling, BAA has decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court and is now proceeding with the sale of Stansted Airport.

 “We still believe the Competition Commission ruling fails to recognise that Stansted and Heathrow serve different markets.”

In an article in today’s Metro, Brian Ross of protest group ‘Stop Stansted Expansion’ was pleased with BAA’s decision. He said: “The prolonged period of uncertainty over Stansted’s ownership has been unsettling for the airport’s employees, unhelpful for the local community and damaging for the airport’s business. 

“Our hope is that with a new owner there will be an opportunity for genuine and meaningful dialogue based on maximising the local benefits of the airport and minimising its adverse impacts on the community.”

Low-cost airline Ryanair also welcomed the decision and called for an early sale.

BAA loses appeal against sale of Stansted
Jul 27th, 2012 by elisa

Stansted Airport picture by Flickr user udeyismail

It has just been announced that airports operator, BAA, has lost its appeal against a ruling that it must sell Stansted Airport. The 2009 ruling by the Competition Commission was upheld by three judges at the Court of Appeal in London today. As part of the original ruling, BAA was also ordered to sell Gatwick and Edinburgh airports, which it has done, however, BAA said it will battle to keep Stansted.

A BAA spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that the Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the Competition Commission. We will now consider its judgement carefully and we intend to submit an appeal to the Supreme Court.”

Tough times for no-frills tiddlers
Nov 10th, 2009 by john

BMI Baby flight from Manchester to Malaga. Photo by Terry Wha

BMI Baby flight from Manchester to Malaga. Photo by Terry Wha

The drastic downsizing of low cost airline bmibaby shows the fierce competition smaller operators are facing from the big two of the no-frills airline world, Ryanair and Easyjet.

The bmibaby fleet will be cut from 17 to 12 planes, leading to the likely loss of around 160 pilots and cabin crew based at Birmingham, Cardiff and Manchester. Management and support staff jobs are also at risk.

Bmibaby has blamed the recession for its problems, but it looks as if new owner Lufthansa has decided bmibaby cannot compete head on with the big two, who have been muscling in on previously profitable holiday routes like Alicante and Málaga. Instead, it will focus on less competitive routes with growth potential.

The move is the latest step in a long process of consolidation amongst budget airlines. Players that have fallen by the wayside include early front runners Go (set up by BA and later sold to Easyjet) and KLM subsidiary Buzz (sold to Ryanair). MyTravelLite stopped independent operations in 2005 and Thomsonfly has effectively given up scheduled flights. The two remaining significant UK-based operators are Flybe and Jet2. Both have tried to develop as regional airlines avoiding direct competition, but that strategy is likely to come under increasing pressure as the big two add ever more routes. Monarch also offers scheduled services on some holiday routes.

Charter airlines are also suffering, as flight-only passengers increasingly prefer the lower costs and greater flexibility of budget airlines. In October, the number of charter airline passengers passing through BAA’s seven UK airports fell by 12.4 per cent compared with a year earlier (scheduled traffic rose by 1.1 per cent), while Manchester airport saw a 12.7 per cent fall in charter passengers.

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