20 August 2008

BAA Breakup - Sir Francis Drake is smiling

The rivalry that began with the Spanish Armada may be long forgotten but Ferrovial's purchase of BAA has been a long festering problem. We should be clear that the seeds of BAA's problems were sown long before the Spanish Builder was even on the horizon. It stems from the business focus and the stricture of UK Government policy.

The government inquiry that today recommended a divestiture of Stansted and Gatwick from BAA is the first start. A development of a competitive marketplace for airports in the capital will be a pretty unique situation that has never been tried in the scale of London. All the major multi-airport large cities such as NYC and Paris have a common authority that manages the airports. (Port Authority and ADP).

So for this to happen it would be a stimulus for the market and change the dynamics which have created the current status quo. So I believe this will actually benefit the travelling public with caveats of course. I will go even further and say that the idea of a bidding battle for the airports will be good even to the point where Ryanair may be a good bidder. (Those of us old enough to remember will recall Tony Ryan's efforts to sponsor a South Dublin Airport in the 1990s!).

So BAA's defense of the monopoly is pointless. Let's just hope the process doesnt take long or else the 3rd world airport that is LHR will remain a piece of garbage that will continue to be ridiculed.

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