On 13 October the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the Competition Commission and restored the Competition Commission’s report in the BAA market investigation (which included a requirement to divest 3 airports (Gatwick, Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow)). In so doing, the Court of Appeal found against the CAT’s ruling that there had been apparent bias on the part of the Competition Commission during its investigation.

The Court of Appeal held that, prior to December 2008, the relationship between one of the members of the Competition Commission inquiry panel and the Manchester Airport Group was too remote to give rise to concerns regarding bias.

The inquiry member had acted for a pension fund and the local authorities that managed the pension fund also owned the issued share capital in the Manchester Airport Group. The Manchester Airport Group had played an active role in the Competition Commission’s investigation and had expressed an interest in bidding for Gatwick airport (and the pension fund was a participant to that bid). The Court of Appeal concluded that, after December 2008, any possible bias would not have influenced the overall decision of the Competition Commission.

BAA has announced their intention to appeal to the Supreme Court.

36/10 - 13 October 2010