MPs call for BAA's monopoly over British airports to be broken up

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The Independent Online

Executives at British Airports Authority (BAA) faced a damning report by a cross-party group of MPs yesterday that called for the Government to break up its monopoly on the UK's major airports.

The Spanish-owned BAA, whose airports include Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, had "mismanaged resources" and "failed to plan adequately for contingencies which were far from unexpected", said a report by the Commons Transport Select Committee.

The MPs said that under BAA management, Heathrow had lost its popularity and it was "regrettable that BAA ever allowed the position to get as bad as it did".

"BAA's monopoly position in the UK airports sector is unnecessary," said the committee. "We do not agree that the status quo is a necessary condition of sustained investment and development."

BAA's British airports, which also include Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton, serve nearly 150 million passengers each year. In 2006 BAA was bought by a consortium led by Ferrovial, an Spanish-based international construction group.

The Competition Commission has been called in by the Office of Fair Trading to consider a radical shake-up of BAA's airports and is due to report next month.

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