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.
- 2 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 3 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Turkey duped the US, and Isis reaps rewards
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says jobless migrants should be banned from entering the UK
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...
£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...