There\’s something of the Br\’er Rabbit in this I think.

BAA keeps telling us all that it really shouldn\’t be broken up. That Gatwick, Heathrow and Stanstead really ought to be run by one company.

Now, you expect a (near) monopoly to say such things, but I\’m not sure that they\’re being entirely serious. I have a feeling that (and it\’s a feeling, no research has been harmed in the process of coming to this view) the three airports are actually worth more separately than they are together. And that BAA knows this, and is waiting to be forced into a demerger or sale rather than announcing it themselves.

For with the near monopoly comes some rather strict controls on landing fees. Absent the monopoly, these would be freed, one assumes, increasing the value of each airport, despite the increased competition.

No, no, don\’t make us demerge!

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