In a recent interview with The Times, Nick Barton, the managing director of Stansted airport, revealed that the airport could increase the number of passengers it handles to approximately 36 million if it was exempt from Civil Aviation Authority regulation, which could help to ease the congestion at Heathrow and Gatwick.
Stansted managers have approached the authority about easing the burden of regulatory restrictions, which apparently cost the airport about twenty grand a week. They feel that the savings made could be passed on to airlines and passengers and enable Stansted to better use its capacity, which is roughly double the current annual passenger count.
Barton alleged that the CAA’s current regulatory regime is based on an assumption that Stansted Airport retains “substantial market power”, which is contradicted by intense competition by Luton, its nearest neighbour, flights lost to Gatwick, recent flight launches by Easy Jet from South-end and Ryan-air’s switch of investment to the continent. He also added that the issue is being clouded by the question of Stansted’s ownership, with BAA planning to appeal the ruling that it must sell the airport.
It will be interesting to see how things develop and whether Stansted will get the opportunity to make full use of its capacity.
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