England’s British Airports Authority (BAA) was told by the country’s Competition Committee that it has to sell Gatwick, Stansted, and Edinburgh airports. The watchdog group has pointed to a lack of competition as the reason for advising the sales. “Under separate ownership, the airport operators including BAA, will have a much greater incentive to be far more responsive to their customers, both airlines and passengers.”
BAA was bought by Spanish company Ferrovial two years ago. The Competition Committee’s criticism of BAA might look like a bid to bring ownership back to the U.K. However, that is not likely to happen. BAA put Gatwick on the market in August. The top bidders thus far are German and Australian companies. Virgin Atlantic is also trying to organize a consortium of investors to make a bid.
The Scottish airports and Stansted remain in BAA’s hands for now. The organization responded to the watchdog’s report by saying that there was no compelling evidence proving that the airports, especially Stansted, should be sold.
50 protesters from the environmentalist group Plane Stupid forced England’s Stansted Airport to close this morning after they cut their way through security fences and chained themselves to railings and fences near the runway. The airport is heavily used by budget carrier Ryanair, which had to cancel more than 50 flights as a result of the demonstration. The protest began at three in the morning and it was not until 8:30 a.m. that flights resumed.
Ryanair complained about the slow response from security officials:
“It is unacceptable that the travel plans of thousands of passengers have been disrupted because BAA Stansted security have failed to remove a number of protesters.”
Plane Stupid‘s protest was in response to the government’s decision to add another runway to the airport. They have spoken out against the airline industry’s handling of carbon emissions and pollution. I’m no PR expert, but chaining yourself near an airport runway is probably not the best way to get your point across. In fact, I’d way it was plain stupid.
…I would default to the much overused Mastercard lingo:
Airticket from London to Prague: $100
Taxi to the airport: $250
Leaving for the airport early enough to take the train next time: priceless. (Well, not completely priceless, but about $230 cheaper than taking a cab.)
The good part is that I actually made the flight with two minutes to spare. The bad part is that it would have been cheaper to just miss the flight and buy an new air ticket.
Can you believe it actually costs twice as much to fly internationally as it does to take a cab from the center of London to Stansted airport?