The Edmondson Blog

Airports in Crisis

BAA seems to be getting a kicking in the papers at the moment. With holiday season upon us, it's time for the annual travel misery, but rather than the ire aimed at the airlines (lost baggage, strikes, delays) as usual, it's the airport operator who's in the firing line. I believe with good reason. Privatisation in the 1980s was the right thing to do at the time, with the government imposing restrictions on landing fees, which they rightly saw as the big worry for consumers at the time.

Times have changed. With the public increasingly seeing flying as a right rather than a privilege, airports should be able to compete for business. It's time BAA was broken up. Sorry Ferrovial, but Heathrow is a mess and more than enough for one company to sort out. I believe BAA have taken their eye off the ball: they treat passengers as shoppers rather than travellers and are more worried about squeezing out the last penny in the shops rather than improving the travelling experience. I completely agree with Jeff Randall: it's time for real competition - let's allow Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted compete for our pre-departure tourist dollar. And I bet that would make the airports wake up to the OTT and disorganised security measures and do something about it.

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