Demand for answer on airport's future
BUSINESS chiefs and city leaders today called for an end to the uncertainty over the ownership of Edinburgh Airport.
It remains unclear whether ownership of the airport will change after an appeal by operator BAA against an order to sell either Glasgow or Edinburgh Airport was rejected.
There are fears that the uncertainty will make it more difficult for Edinburgh to continue to increase the number of routes it offers.
The Court of Appeal in London ruled that the Competition Commission's verdict that BAA should sell Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airport should stand.
BAA is now planning to appeal to the Supreme Court.
City leaders and business chiefs said that it was essential that a decision was made quickly so that the uncertainty did not impact upon the number of new direct flights Edinburgh was able to attract.
Graham Birse, deputy chief executive of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: "This case seems to have gone on an inordinate amount of time. We need stability around the ownership of such an important asset.
"I don't know why the Competition Commission took so long to make a decision and why it was so prescriptive. We do not think it should be for the Commission to say which airports should be sold.
"What is important to Edinburgh businesses and the city's economy is not who owns the airport but how efficiently it is managed. If Edinburgh Airport is the airport that has to be sold we would be keen that the quality of management and quality and size of investment in Edinburgh Airport continues."
The Office of Fair Trading first announced plans to probe the dominance of BAA in the UK's airport sector in May 2006. A preliminary report by the Competition Commission in April 2008 said BAA owning seven airports "may not be serving well the interests of either airlines or passengers".
In August 2008, the Competition Commission ruled that either Glasgow or Edinburgh Airport, as well as two London airports, should be sold.
It was initially thought that bosses may choose to get rid of Glasgow, where passenger numbers are declining. But insiders now suggest it will be a "50/50" decision.
Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, the city's transport leader, said: "It's vital to the city and the country that Edinburgh has an excellent airport, building on its performance of recent years and developing more new, direct services.
"We remain very conscious of how important this issue is and would be keen for it to be resolved as quickly as possible."
A BAA spokesman said: "We are disappointed that the Court of Appeal has upheld two of the five grounds argued by the Competition Commission.
"We will be seeking permission to appeal."
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east