Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Stansted expansion still on, says BAA

Airport operator BAA last week said it remained committed to building a second runway at Stansted even though it could be forced to sell the airport and could face planning inquiry delays.

BAA Stansted airport commercial and development director Nick Barton said he was confident the £1.66bn proposal for a second runway would go ahead, despite a 12.6% fall in passenger numbers between April 2008 and 2009.

Speaking at NCE’s “Airport Design & Engineering Conference” last week, Barton said: “There is a general growth pattern in aviation, despite periodic dips [due to things like 9/11, wars and economic downturns].

“Supply will never exceed the demand. We expect a second runway will open around 2017/2018.”

Fighting the Competition Commission

Barton’s confidence comes despite the fact that BAA could be forced by the Competition Commission to sell Stansted along with Gatwick and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports.

The operator has put Gatwick up for sale but is fighting the Commission’s ruling over the remaining airports.

“Supply will never exceed the demand. We expect a second runway will open around 2017/2018.”

Nick Barton, BAA

BAA officials have also written to communities secretary Hazel Blears expressing concern that the prospect of Stansted having to be sold would make the current timetable for the planning inquiry into the expansion “less reliable”.

The inquiry was due to begin on 15 April, but Blears has deferred the inquiry to give BAA time to consider the Competition Commisssion’s ruling. Barton denied that BAA’s concerns over the planning inquiry timetable constituted asking for a delay in proceedings.

“The application is in,” said Barton. “The issue is whether the government thinks the case can be heard when the ownership is in doubt.”

Buyers in sight for Gatwick

Meanwhile a BAA spokesmen said that sale of Gatwick was progressing well. Bidding is believed to be down to two bidders. Manchester Airports Group is believed to be one of them. The other is London City airport owners Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), a joint venture between General Electric and Credit Suisse.

The Lysander consortium comprising Citigroup infrastructure fund, Vancouver airport and John Hancock Life Insurance was rejected by BAA in May.

The operator said it was “uncompetitive on price with no assurance of delivery”. Its bid price was reported to be in the region of £1.18bn.

Speaking at NCE’s conference, GIP partner Michael McGhee said the group would focus on expanding Gatwick into the low cost carrier market if its bid was successful.

“The future of short haul is low cost and we are interested in investing in low cost at Gatwick,” said McGhee.

“City can never serve low cost. We’ve got plenty of fire power to take advantage of current conditions.”

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.