Edinburgh airport up for sale despite recent passenger boost

By Sarah Vesty

Plane waits in the wing for decision

The UK’s biggest airport firm, BAA, has released figures showing a 3.5 per cent passenger increase at Edinburgh airport last month, despite losing their appeal against the Competition Commission to continue owning Stanstead, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports. Glasgow experienced a fall of 7.4 per cent compared to last year.

Following the Court of Appeals decision to uphold the demand made by the Competition Commission, BAA was given 28 days to appeal. A spokesperson from their media office commented that although the appeal limit had expired, BAA was still considering further legal action against the CC.

In October the Court agreed with the Competition Commission believing that to create sufficient competition amongst airports, BAA must sell some of its airports to enable fare prices to fall for customers, particularly those in Scotland.

The numbers of passengers will not affect the decision of which airport to sell in Scotland. A BAA spokesperson stated that:

“It is complicated. It depends on lots of factors like when we have to sell it, how much money it will be for and so on. It’s good that Edinburgh is doing well. It’s important that it does well even if it’s being sold.”

The figures were published following the expiration of the set 28-day appeal period granted to BAA by the Court of Appeal. It found in favour of the Competition Commission who had demanded that the organisation must sell Stanstead and either Edinburgh or Glasgow.

The Supreme Court has no record of any further legal action being raised so far and the airport firm commented that it could be a while before we see any final decisions made.

Christopher Clarke, Chairman of the BAA Airports Inquiry outlined the reasons behind the move:

“We have decided that the only way to address comprehensively the detriment to passengers and airlines from the complete absence of competition between BAA’s south-east airports and between Edinburgh and Glasgow is to require BAA to sell both Gatwick and Stansted as well as either Edinburgh or Glasgow.”

A 3.4 percent overall increase in passengers travelling was revealed by the group, believed to have been helped by a 1.2 percent increase in the number of flights. Of all airports up for sale Edinburgh was the only one to see an increase as Stanstead fell by 3.1 percent compared to the same month last year.