18th February 2011

Supreme Court calls time on BAA

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court to refuse BAA permission to mount a further appeal against the Competition Commission’s 2009 ruling that it must sell Stansted Airport (and also either its Edinburgh or Glasgow airport).

This means that BAA has now exhausted the full legal process for appealing against the Commission’s ruling, a process which has lasted almost two years.

SSE is however concerned that BAA may try to re-run the legal argument all over again by arguing that circumstances have changed so much since the Commission’s March 2009 ruling that its original conclusions are no longer valid and there is no longer a justification for forcing the sale of Stansted. BAA has in fact already written to the Commission making this argument and strongly hinting that another protracted legal battle is in prospect if the Commission’s does not accept BAA’s viewpoint.

SSE is concerned that BAA is merely trying to delay matters further in the hope that market conditions will improve, enabling it to obtain a better price for the sale of Stansted. This may be in BAA’s commercial interests but it would create further uncertainty and would not be in the interests of the local community or airport employees. SSE therefore calls upon BAA to end the uncertainty by accepting the Supreme Court’s decision and relinquishing control of Stansted without any further delay.

SSE Economics Adviser Brian Ross commented: “BAA has now launched more appeals than Wayne Rooney with the result that the airport has been in a state of limbo for three years and has been losing customers in droves. Prolonging this state of limbo is neither in the interests of the local community nor the airport’s employees. BAA should now accept the Supreme Court’s ruling and bring this damaging period of uncertainty to an end.”

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