6th June 2006

Bye Bye BAA

SSE response to BAA takeover

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) welcomes the news that BAA has agreed to accept a takeover bid.

SSE regards the takeover as the inevitable fate for a monopolist which has consistently failed to listen to its shareholders, its customers and the local communities around its airports and says that very few local people will shed a tear over BAA’s passing.

Although privatised almost 20 years ago, BAA continued to behave like a Government subsidiary and considered itself immune from any threat to its position. In relation to Stansted, BAA management seemed determined to do the Government’s bidding by investing up to £4bn of shareholder’s money on a second runway despite massive local opposition, the lack of commercial logic and the fact that Stansted has never earned a commercially viable return for shareholders.

There is now an opportunity for a fresh start, particularly in view of the fact that the Office of Fair Trading (OfT) is now almost certain to ask the Competition Commission to review BAA’s ownership of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports amounting to over 90% of the market in the South East.

The takeover of BAA – coupled with a Competition Commission inquiry – should lead to a re-think of the expansion plans for Stansted – plans that are politically inspired, lack commercial logic and would amount to an environmental catastrophe for the entire local area.

But whatever the future holds for Stansted under new ownership, SSE is committed, on behalf of the local community, to maintaining its tooth and nail opposition to any major expansion of Stansted Airport.

Campaigning to ensure Stansted Airport's authorised operations stay below harmful limits