AMERICAS: American says breakup BAA monopoly

American Airlines Inc. said the UK should break up BAA Ltd.’s monopoly over London airports including Heathrow and Gatwick because the services are so poor that carriers are shifting flights to other cities, according to Bloomberg. “The only thing worse than a public monopoly is a private monopoly,” said Don Langford, managing director of services […]


American Airlines Inc. said the UK should break up BAA Ltd.’s monopoly over London airports including Heathrow and Gatwick because the services are so poor that carriers are shifting flights to other cities, according to Bloomberg.

“The only thing worse than a public monopoly is a private monopoly,” said Don Langford, managing director of services in Europe and India for American Airlines, which is owned by AMR Corp.

“Heathrow is so bad that we’ve shifted some capacity. There’s peeling paint, missing light bulbs, duct tape on the floor and all manner of poor housekeeping in our terminal.”

The comments at a Parliament hearing in London add pressure on BAA as Britain’s Competition Commission considers a forced breakup while the Civil Aviation Authority reviews the prices it charges to airlines. Grupo Ferrovial SA of Spain bought BAA last year.

BAA, the world’s biggest airport operator, defended its performance, saying it is struggling to cope with years of under investment.

“We have much to do in terms of improving our service, and we are making those improvements,” BAA Chief Executive Officer Stephen Nelson told the committee. The company has cut waiting times at security checkpoints and is hiringmore staff , he said.