Competition Commission condemns BAA for not expanding enough


Isn't free-market capitalism great? Just when BAA was enjoying a few months of rest, after an annus horribilus which saw protestors against Heathrow's expansion sitting on planes, squatting their car park and prancing about on Parliament, along comes the Competition Commission demanding the airport operator sell two London airports ASAP.

Normally I'd be rolling about laughing, except that I made sure to read the fine print. One of the reasons the Commission wants BAA to split up is... it didn't expand airports fast enough. Apparently BAA should have issued a legal challenge against the cap on Gatwick expanding, as well as been more aggressive at Stansted.

"Separate owners would face strong incentives to expand capacity and win traffic from rival airports. We would therefore expect separate owners to display a greater appetite for runway capacity expansion than BAA has and to lobby Government accordingly for the necessary policy framework to support such development, rather than lobby against them as BAA appears to have done."

Lobbying against airport expansion? What poppycock. If BAA's rhetoric is anti-expansionist to these unreconstructed Adam Smith worshippers, then I dread to think what aggressive lobbying would look like. Actually, it's probably akin to Michael O'Leary on a twisted cocktail of crack cocaine and Red Bull like some reject out of Cujo...