Break up BAA monopoly to stop airport chaos

Airport scene

[28th March 2008]

Budget airline Ryanair believes that breaking up BAA would prevent the kind of airport chaos seen at the opening of Heathrow Terminal 5 yesterday.

"The security queues, flight delays and baggage chaos endured by passengers at Heathrow’s T5 are symptomatic of widespread failure common at many BAA airports including Stansted and Gatwick where passengers routinely suffer long queues at security and passport control as well as repeated baggage belt breakdowns," Ryanair says in a press statement.

As well as Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, BAA also operates Glasgow airport, Edinburgh airport and Aberdeen airport as well as Southampton airport. BAA is owned by Spanish group Ferrovial, which took on more than £10 billion of debt when it acquired the ailing airport operator.

Ryanair contends that the "abject customer service" at BAA airports continues because the Civil Aviation Authority, which regulates UK airports, has failed to protect airport users because it is too busy rewarding the BAA with price increases.

Outspoken Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary says: "This morning’s chaos at Heathrow provides further compelling evidence of the need to break up the BAA monopoly. We should allow competition between the London airports to deliver more efficient facilities, better passenger service and lower costs where the BAA airport monopoly has failed".

Despite BA's part in the chaos at Terminal 5, Ryanair has not openly criticised the rival airline instead concentrating its wrath on airport operator BAA. "If the BAA London airport monopoly was split up, competition would deliver better services and efficient terminals which actually work as opposed to complicated Taj Mahals like Heathrow’s T5. It is high time to break up this BAA airport monopoly,” concludes O'Leary.

Written by: Nick Purdom


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