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Learning English - Words in the News
 
20 August, 2008 - Published 13:36 GMT
 
British airports
 
London Heathrow airport

In Britain, the UK's largest airport company, BAA, may have to sell off three of its operations. A report by the Competition Commission says there are significant problems arising from BAA's ownership of seven airports. Our Economics Correspondent Andrew Walker reports:

Listen to the story

BAA's airports handle 90% of air passengers in the South East of England and 60% for the UK as a whole. The company owns all three of the largest airports for the London area, including Heathrow which handles more international passengers than any other airport in the world, many of them transfer passengers only changing flights at the airport.

A British business regulatory authority, the Competition Commission, has reached a provisional view that the company should have to sell two of those London airports. It also wants the company to part with one of the two leading airports it owns in Scotland - Glasgow or Edinburgh.

The Commission says that the lack of competition has led to a lack of airport capacity, higher charges for users, the slow development of new routes and poor responses to customers' requests. The report says that, especially in the longer term, the airports would be likely to compete more vigorously if they were separately owned.

The report has been welcomed by a number of airlines. But BAA's chief executive said the analysis was flawed and the measures proposed were disproportionate and counter-productive.

Andrew Walker, BBC

Listen to the words

handle
deal with, take care of, are responsible for

reached a provisional view
come to a conclusion that is not yet final

to part with
to give up, to stop being the owner of

the lack of competition
here, the fact that there are no other companies that could provide services similar to BAA and would try to perform better than BAA

airport capacity
the number of passengers, baggage items and planes that an airport can handle

in the longer term
far into the future

vigorously
actively, with a lot of energy

were separately owned
did not all belong to one and the same company

flawed
inaccurate, with mistakes, leading to wrong conclusions

disproportionate and counter-productive
too radical and not leading to positive results



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