Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has welcomed the Competition Commission’s insistence that BAA be forced to sell Stansted airport saying it intends to bring legal proceedings to recover “excess charges” levied at the airport.
In a typically stinging attack on BAA in last night’s London Evening Standard, O’Leary accused airport operator BAA of profiteering at Stansted to help its Spanish parent Ferrovial fund acquisitions and its ownership of Heathrow.
He claims this has led to a doubling of charges at Stansted over the past five years and a collapse in passenger numbers with rival easyJet, Air Berlin, Thomas Cook, Thonmson and Air Asia all pulling services. O’Leary estimted this has cost 5,000 jobs in the local area and millions in tourism revenue.
O’Leary claimed the airport’s “regulatory accounts” show enormous inter-group and head office charges being paid by Stansted “in order to understate the monopoly profits being exploited by BAA there”.
He called for the government to ensure a speedy sale of Stansted to encourage more competition among London’s airports which would be good for consumers as it will allow fares to be kept low.
“Competition works – and competition between London’s airports will allow the capital to compete again with lower-cost, fast-growing competitors in Europe,” he said.
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