Breakup of BAA Limited long overdue
Sunday, 17 August 2008 09:17

BAA Limited really needs to be broken up into pieces, but not airport size pieces, much smaller bits. The idea of one company owning the whole of an airport is totally outdated, we need smaller bits. Remember the Post Office telephone breakup that became British Telecom, in that case the whole telecoms structure became one company and customers have regretted it ever since.

What's needed is a breakup that puts individual terminals at airports up for sale, then terminals can compete against each other and passengers will get the best deal. Owning a whole airport still means that passengers will have little choice.

Another huge problem that needs to be tackled is landing and take-off slots. British Airways owns the majority of slots at Heathrow, which means that other airlines can't get a look in. That might have been acceptable when British Airways was a government national airline, but it's not, it's a business and can use ownership of slots at Heathrow to prevent other newer and more efficient airlines getting into business. Landing and take-off slots should be a national asset, open to all. We have recently seen the sale of the radio spectrum for wheelbarrow loads of cash, slots at airports should be opened up and not hoareded by one airline. They should be rented for a finite time so that newer airlines get a fair chance to acquire them.

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