Learning English - Words in the News
10 August, 2007 - Published 12:05 GMT
Poor service at British airports
Competition regulators in Britain have announced the terms of an inquiry into how Britain's airports are run. At the moment one operator, BAA, controls all the major hubs. The inquiry will consider whether this monopoly should be ended. This report from Mark Gregory:
Long queues, delayed flights and overcrowding at airports have become almost as much a topic for conversation in Britain as the traditional moaning about the weather. Meanwhile, there are rumblings from industry that "Heathrow hassle", allegedly poor service standards at London's major hub, is deterring foreigners from doing business in Britain.
Much of the criticism is directed at BAA, formerly known as the British Airports Authority, which runs seven major airports, including the three main ones serving London. The Competition Commission is now to investigate whether BAA should be obliged to sell off some of its assets, including either Stansted or Gatwick, the secondary hubs catering to London. The idea is that competition between rival operators would lead to better service at airports.
BAA, recently bought by a Spanish company, says the root cause of the problems is not the ownership structure but a lack of runway and terminal capacity, which it is addressing through a programme of heavy investment.
Mark Gregory, BBC
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