Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Competition states bleedin obvious on BAA monopoly

Following months of expensive research and deliberations we get this stunning conclusion:

BAA's ownership of seven UK airports "may not be serving well the interests of either airlines or passengers", the Competition Commission has said.

The commission's "emerging thinking" report said that BAA, "dominates the airports markets in the south-east of England and in lowland Scotland".

No shit, Sherlock. We needed some of the best brains around to tell us this? All they needed to do was travel through any airport and have a chat with a few business travellers.
Its next report in August may call on BAA to sell one or more airports.

August? WTF is it taking that long? I know its a difficult subject as it could be argued each airport is a natural monopoly, OK you could argue each terminal is a seprate business, but owning most of the airports in and around London certainly isn't. This problem has been around for some time and surely there is a lot of research already and plenty of ideas around of what to do with it?

A brief look at the history of BAA tells the sad story:
1965: Labour minister, Roy Jenkins, introduced the Airports Authority Bill. It was intended to make the nation’s airports more flexible and able to generate profits – while remaining responsible to Parliament. The British Airports Authority was established.

Roy Jenkin's was involved in it birth, enough said. Note the remaining responsible to Parliament bit, for those not around at the time this was code for we'll tell them what to do and make sure decisions benefit our party/constituents and fuck the idea of business efficiency. And just to make sure they had real control:
1966: The British Airports Authority assumes ownership and responsibility for Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Prestwick airports.

1971 – 75: The British Airports Authority acquires Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow airports.

That is a sorry reflection of the nature of politics of the 60's and 70's. Its very sad that Maggie didn't even break it up, although she did at least privatise it, which did at least make it a bit more efficient.

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