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Fri, Apr 27, 2007

BAA Announces Airport Decongestion Plan

Includes New Runways, Terminal Replacements

British airport operator BAA has announced an ambitious and pricey plan to cut aerial congestion in the UK.

The $18.6 billion investment plan promises to improve condtions at the group's airports -- including Gatwick, Stansted, and one of the busiest and most congested airports in the world: London Heathrow (shown at right).

Stansted can look forward to a second runway and terminal. Heathrow's Terminal 2, called Heathrow East, would be replaced and terminals three and four renovated. Plans also call for a second satellite for Terminal 5, known as T5C, according to the UK's Adfero news service.

"We are focused on our long-term plans to free the traveling public from congestion and provide a good experience at our airports," said BAA chief executive officer Stephen Nelson.

"The size and strength of BAA's balance sheet and our unrivalled experience in developing new airport facilities, give us great confidence that we can deliver this scale of investment on time and on budget," Nelson added.

The plans will help the airports deal with an expected 2.8 percent annual air traffic increase at London airports and would require no subsidy from taxpayers, he added.

The company says the best way for such vast improvements to be made is for its corporate structure to remain as it is.  It is currently facing scrutiny from the Competition Commission over its ownership of so many airports, which also includes Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Southampton, Naples and Budapest.

Critics claim such holdings represent a monopoly.

FMI: www.baa.com

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