Ben Ross: Signs are that this decision is good news for travellers
Wednesday 20 July 2011
Your first impression of a BAA airport? Almost certainly the characteristic black-on-yellow signage. "Departures" the notice will say, next to a little icon of a plane taking off. The company holds the copyright on the particular combination of colour, typeface, icons and arrows used to direct passengers around its airports.
BAA, owned by the Spanish consortium Ferrovial, divested itself of Gatwick airport in 2009 in the vain hope that it would be able to avoid further forced sales. Gatwick's new owner, Global Infrastructure Partners, soon found itself investing in 1,000 fresh signs (this time yellow on black) to replace those belonging to BAA.
At the same time, the experience of arriving at and flying from "Your London Airport", as Gatwick likes to be known, is improving. Security queues are shorter, immigration areas are being revamped, and earlier this year new dedicated "kids' zones" were introduced for families.
BAA still operates Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Southampton and Stansted airports, as well as Heathrow, the jewel in UK aviation's crown. When Stansted's new terminal building opened in 1991, BAA had a near-monopoly on air travel in the London area. Judged on the Gatwick experience, the Competition Commission's ruling that the company must sell off Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports should be good news for British travellers.
Despite BAA's investment of £5bn in infrastructure since 2006, the perception has long been that the company was too content with its dominant position in the marketplace to invest enough in a vital area: the passenger experience.
New signs at Stansted – of whatever colour – could be the fresh start our airports need.
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Putin opponent reveals Russian President's daughter's secret identity
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...