Ryanair has strongly criticised BAA’s request for a judicial review into the Competition Commission’s decision requiring it to sell off Stansted, and has called for the government to instead push through an early sale.
The low-cost airline has slammed the Ferrovial-owned airport operator for “yet another legal delay” to the sale of Stansted, which it says is costing the airport’s passengers and airlines.
Stephen McNamara, head of communications at Ryanair, said: “While Ferrovial/BAA delays the sale of Stansted, the BAA has doubled its passenger charges.
“Traffic has declined over 20%, but BAA’s costs have risen by over 30%, with the result that Stansted airlines and passengers are being massively overcharged by Ferrovial/BAA under the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) inadequate regulatory regime.”
According to McNamara, this “regulatory gaming” will not stop until BAA is eventually forced to sell Stansted and put an end to “the overcharging of Stansted’s airlines and passengers.”
BAA’s judicial review is the latest episode in a long saga between the operator and the Competition Commission, which dates back to 2009 when it was ruled that the group had too much of a monopoly.
Since it was decided that BAA must sell three of its seven UK airports, the Spanish-owned company has appealed against the decision three times.
BAA has also been told by the Competition Commission that Stansted should be sold first as it serves more passengers than either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports.
BAA said: “The challenge relates to the Competition Commission’s consideration of whether there have been material changes of circumstances since its original 2009 decision such that it is not necessary or appropriate to require BAA to divest Stansted.”
BAA currently owns Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports in Scotland, as well as Heathrow, Southampton and Stansted.
McNamara added: “Stansted airlines and passengers will continue to be overcharged for at least another 12 months by the Ferrovial/BAA monopoly, as they use this judicial review to delay the inevitable sale of Stansted.
“While this sale is delayed, Ferrovial/BAA continues to run rings around the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) regulatory regime which the UK Competition Commission described as ‘inadequate’.”