86. The continuing demand for capacity at our airports
raises important questions about the nature and extent of expansion.
BAA's position in the market means that what is good for aviation
is usually good for BAA. Where our views diverge is that we do
not think that what is good for BAA is necessarily good for aviation.
BAA claim to be best placed to deliver new capacity. It would
be a strange company indeed that did not make such a claim. To
date, this has been their key argument in favour of retaining
common ownership ofin particularHeathrow, Gatwick
87. However, the evidence we have received over the
course of this inquiry and our previous inquiries into aviation
leads us to a different conclusion. It is our view that the drawbacks
of common ownership outweigh the advantages, and that there is
much to be gained from a state of affairs where BAA did not enjoy
such substantial market power. The extent to which BAA needs chivvying
along by the regulator reflects poorly on their avowed commitment
to service quality. We are sceptical of arguments which deny the
possibility of increased competition: our evidence from the CAA
indicates that this simply is not the case. We hope that the Competition
Commission will take the steps necessary to ensure a healthy,
competitive airports sector for the years to come.