UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Is breaking up so hard to do?

April 22, 2008

air.jpgBAA has long been the whipping boy for the often dismal ”passenger experience” at its airports. 

Too many shops, too many queues, not enough staff — the complaints are well-rehearsed and calls for the company to be broken up grow louder after every fresh disaster. At least they could get rid of Gatwick, and possibly Stansted too, the critics say.

But BAA itself insists breaking it up would jeopardise its planned programme of long-term investment at Britain’s airports.

Its former chief executive Stephen Nelson told the Competition Commission a year ago: “Our analysis is that the fundamental problem for passengers is lack of capacity, not the structure of BAA.

“Putting BAA in the dock for a complex set of problems – with deep legacy causes – will not help solve them. As well as tackling the immediate issue of queuing times, we are ready to make major, long-term investments in British airports, that will free the travelling public from congestion and provide a good experience at our airports, all for a few extra pounds per passenger. 

“But to achieve this, we need a strong and united BAA. We have the balance sheet scale to finance these projects efficiently and retain the unrivalled expertise in planning and building new airport facilities on time and on budget.”

That was before T5 of course but BAA’s position remains the same. What do you think of the basic point? Would a break-up necessarily result in an enhanced experience for the long-suffering passenger? 

Comments

SINCE BEING TAKEN OVER BY THE SPANISH COMPANY ALL THAT HAS HAPPENED IS A CLASSIC ASSET STRIPPING OPERATION. THE TECHNIQUE OF TAKE OVER AND LOADING WITH MASSIVE DEBT SHOULD BE MADE ILLEGAL. THIS COMPANY’S HOLDING MUST BE BROKEN UP OTHERWISE THE UK AVIATION INDUSTRY WILL FAIL.

Posted by DOHERTY | Report as abusive
 

London’s airports are stuck in the past for the simple reason that they are a monopoly with no financial incentive to provide a better service in order to keep their business. They must be freed up and forced to compete with each other for the custom of airlines and passengers. The BA monopoly on baggage handling must also be broken up for the same reason, within each airport. T5 is the evidence of the need for change, where even with brand new facilities the same tired old management and staff “couldn’t give a toss” attitudes managed to turn it into a shambles.

Posted by Mike T | Report as abusive
 

As a frquent flyer from Germany into the UK it is a matter of urgency that all agencies, private and public involved in Uk airports be involved in fundamental change.

BAA may or may not, be the main culprit but Trades Unions, Border Control Agency, The Airlines, CAA etc must all be involved.

To break the Monopoly each Airport in Greater London must be under different ownership to maximise competition . This must also apply to the Scottish Airports where BAA has an effective monopoly.

The present situation is indicative of a society tat has lost its way economically, politically and morally.

Bankruptcy in all its forms

Posted by James Baillie | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •