BAA welcomes the important acknowledgement by the CC that capacity constraints in the South East limit the scope for competition between airports. We also share the view that the regulatory system, created in 1986, is outdated and should be reformed to ensure that it supports the delivery of new capacity and provides encouragement to airports to drive up service standards. We note that the CC raises important questions about the effect of the 2003 White Paper policy on the development of new airport capacity.
We continue to believe that the Government is right to set long-term policy for the development of air transport, taking into account a range of public policy objectives, and that new capacity will be delivered most effectively within that framework.
In Scotland, we remain firmly of the view, based on the evidence provided to the CC, that BAA's airports in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen have distinct local catchment areas, demonstrating that passengers and airlines do not view the airports as effective substitutes, and that separate ownership would do little, if anything, to engender competition between airports.
We also continue to believe that the London airports do not compete with each other, and that Heathrow competes with the other global hubs in Europe and beyond.
BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said:
"The challenge for us all in addressing the lack of capacity in the South East is how we ensure the timely delivery of investment. BAA remains committed to making the investments needed to transform our airports and improve passenger service standards in London, Scotland and Southampton".
"We recognise many of the concerns that have been expressed by airlines, and reflected by the CC, and we will be doing everything we can to address these. However, BAA remains of the view that its ownership is in passengers' interests, both in terms of tackling the shorter term service problems, and in following through with major commitments to investment in new facilities and capacity".
"We will continue to work constructively with the CC as its investigation proceeds".