Ryanair condemns competition appeal tribunal decision

Friday 26, February 2010


Ryanair condemns competition appeal tribunal decision


Ryanair, the UK’s favourite airline, today (25th Feb) condemned the decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal to overturn the universally acclaimed decision by the Competition Commission to force the break-up of the BAA airport monopoly by requiring the BAA to sell Gatwick, Stansted and one of its Scottish airports.



Today’s decision, which was based on a finding that there might have been an appearance of bias in relation to one of the six members of the Commission, because of his advisory role to the pension fund of the employees of shareholders of Manchester Airport Group plc, is in Ryanair’s view damaging to competition, damaging for consumers and damaging to British tourism. As a result of this decision, the sale of Stansted and one of the BAA’s Scottish airports will now be delayed for a minimum period of two years, with the result that traffic at Stansted Airport will continue to decline, as consumers suffer squalid and inefficient terminal facilities and continue to be victimised by the BAA monopoly’s high charges.


Ryanair believes that a sensible and practical outcome to any finding of an appearance of bias in this case would be for Manchester Airport Group plc to be prohibited from bidding for Stansted and/or one of the BAA’s Scottish airports when disposed, but to delay the introduction of competition, lower prices and better services at Stansted by a period of at least two years, on this legal technicality is unfair on the travelling public. The original decision to break-up the BAA airport monopoly was universally welcomed by airport users, airlines and national newspaper editorials all over the UK. More importantly, none of the substantive findings of that decision was challenged by the BAA.


The sale of Gatwick Airport has already resulted in Gatwick now introducing some limited element of competition to Heathrow and Stansted. The new owners of Gatwick are improving facilities and lowering charges in order to attract new routes and new traffic to the South East of London. However the BAA monopoly continues to control (with high prices and inefficient facilities) the airport access at Heathrow and Stansted. Ryanair trusts that its appeal of the Tribunal’s ruling will be successful, leading to the break-up of the high cost, inefficient BAA monopoly which has done so much damage to UK airports, air traffic and tourism in recent years.


Speaking today, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:


“The original Competition Commission decision to order the break-up of the BAA airport monopoly was welcomed by the entire airline industry, passengers and the national media. Today’s decision, which appears to be based on a legal technicality (or irrelevancy), will now delay the much needed introduction of competition and consumer choice at Stansted by at least two years. We regret that passengers at Stansted will pay higher charges and suffer inferior facilities for at least two more years as a result of this regrettable Competition Appeal Tribunal decision.


“As traffic continues to decline at Stansted, and airlines and passengers continue to suffer high charges and badly run facilities, we again call on the BAA monopoly to sell Stansted Airport in order to introduce much needed competition in the London airport market, or alternatively for the Court of Appeal to overturn the Tribunal’s ruling and bring forward the break-up of the high cost, inefficient and anti-consumer BAA airport monopoly in the interests of competition and a better deal for British consumers, passengers and tourism.”




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