18th October 2003

SSE Welcomes Calls for BAA Break-up

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has welcomed the joint call by Ryanair and easyJet today (18 October) that BAA, the owner of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, should be broken up to bring an end to its monopoly in the south east.

“It’s not often that we find ourselves in full agreement with Michael O’ Leary of Ryanair and Ray Webster of easyJet but on this issue we could not agree more,” said SSE Chairman, Norman Mead.

SSE itself wrote formally to the Department of Trade & Industry last month seeking action to deal with BAA’s monopoly position and has also brought the issue to the attention of the Office of Fair Trading, the Competition Commission and the CAA.

Norman Mead commented:  “Stansted has been over-developed and has simply become a dumping ground for cheap short haul flights for the whole of the South East and far beyond.  We believe that as an independent business it would develop in a more moderate and balanced way to serve the travel needs of the local region.”

“BAA has become a bad neighbour to our community.  Its proposals for two additional runways represent a betrayal of past promises.  We would be glad to see the back of this monopoly,” Norman Mead continued.  “I am sure that the communities around Gatwick and Heathrow would feel the same way.”

Earlier this year, the influential House of Commons Transport Select Committee also called for the break-up of BAA and the Government announced last month that it would abide by a ruling of the European Court of Justice and sell its golden share in BAA, lifting the restriction on any shareholder owning more than 15 per cent of the company.  This will remove an obstacle to a takeover or a break-up of the company.

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