By Max Clarke

In March 2009 the Competition Commission published its final decision in relation to its investigation into the supply of UK airport services by BAA. The key structural remedy called for the disposal of Stansted and one of either Edinburgh or Glasgow Airports.

In December 2009, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) upheld BAA's appeal against the Commission’s decision. The Commission successfully appealed to the Court of Appeal, which in October 2010 overturned the CAT's decision, upholding two of the five grounds argued by the Competition Commission. In November 2010, BAA sought permission from the Supreme Court to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision. BAA has today been informed that this permission has not been granted.

The Competition Commission welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to refuse BAA permission to appeal against the commission’s decision in the BAA investigation, including the requirement for BAA to sell Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports, Gatwick having already been sold:

Peter Freeman, Chairman of the CC said:
We are pleased that the Supreme Court has made this decision. Since November we have been considering whether there has been any change in circumstances following the completion of the BAA investigation in March 2009, which should cause us to reconsider implementing the original decision. The Supreme Court’s decision means we can press ahead with this process and hopefully bring it to a swift conclusion in the interests of the travelling public.

A BAA spokesperson said: "We are disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision not to hear our appeal. We continue to make the case to the Competition Commission that the circumstances in which they found reason to force the sale of airports have changed significantly since early 2009 and should certainly be reviewed in the light of the Government's policy to rule out new runway capacity in the South East of England."