BAA has sought judicial review from the CAT after the Competition Commission ruled that the company had to sell Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports. A BAA company statement sets out that this latest challenge relates to the Competition Commission’s final decision in July 2011 (reported on in our July 2011 bulletin) that there were no material changes of circumstances or special reasons that would justify the Competition Commission amending its original decision (in 2009 following the market investigation into BAA airports) to require BAA to divest either of Glasgow or Edinburgh airport and Stansted airport.
The application sets out the four grounds on which BAA submits the conclusions in the final decision of the Competition Commission are flawed:
- The Competition Commission failed in its duty to gather and assess the information necessary to perform its function and / or acted irrationally (and in particular as regards its adherence to its assessment of the competition benefits connected with the expansion of runway capacity).
- The Competition Commission’s assessment of the whether common ownership of Heathrow and Stansted airports gave rise to adverse effects on competition was flawed.
- The Competition Commission’s analysis of Stansted airport’s profitability, which led to the conclusion that the divesture remedy was proportionate, was irrational.
- The Competition Commission failed to take into account the damage to BAA and its shareholders that followed the requirement to divest Stansted airport in a short timescale.