We have concurrent powers with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to enforce the prohibitions in the Competition Act as they relate to airport operation services and the supply of air traffic services.
The prohibitions are:
Together with the other sector regulators and the CMA, we are a member of the
UK Competition Network (UKCN). The UKCN works to ensure consistency of application of competition law in the regulated sectors to support and enable competition.
As for the other regulators, we have a Memorandum of Understanding with the CMA that sets out how we will, in practice, work together within the framework of competition law.
We have issued guidance on how we will apply competition law where we have these powers. The guidance sets out the application of our competition powers that covers the whole breadth of our powers in relation to airport operation services and air traffic services - to undertake sector reviews, carry out market studies, make market investigation
references to the CMA, and investigate competition infringements and super complaints.
The guidance has been prepared to inform our stakeholders - businesses and their advisers, consumers, consumer groups, and other interested parties on how we will apply our competition powers and duties. It sets out how we will apply our concurrent competition powers and seeks to explain the interface between generally applicable competition law
and aviation specific legislation.
If you are submitting a complaint to us about conduct that you consider may be prohibited under the Competition Act, we suggest you contact us either by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7453 6225.
We have also published prioritisation principles that explain our approach in deciding which pieces of work to take forward in the areas of consumer protection, competition law and economic regulation.
Important Note - Arrangements for the handling of leniency applications in the regulated sectors:
All businesses wishing to apply for, or enquire about leniency, should first approach the CMA by calling their leniency number in order to secure their place in the leniency queue. The CMA’s leniency number is 020 3738 6833. More information on the arrangements for the handling of leniency applications in the regulated sectors is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/656905/information-note-on-arrangements-for-handling-of-leniency-applications.pdfThe CMA guidance on leniency and no-action applications in cartel cases is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/leniency-and-no-action-applications-in-cartel-cases
The CMA has published guidance on its functions under the Withdrawal Agreement. This seeks to explain, among other things, how the UK’s exit from the EU affects the CMA’s powers and processes for competition law enforcement during the transition period, towards the end of that period, and after it ends. To the extent that the CAA’s competition functions are held concurrently with those of the CMA as explained in our own guidance above, we will have regard to this guidance following the UK’s exit from the EU.
At the request of the Department for Transport, we have
assessed the contestability of the market in provision of terminal air traffic services in the UK.
into conduct in respect of facilities at airports
On 18 September 2018, the CMA issued a statement of objections to Heathrow
Airport Limited (and its parent Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited) and Heathrow
T5 Limited (and its parent Arora Holdings Limited) following admissions of infringements
of competition law. Heathrow will pay a
maximum fine of £1.6 million.
Heathrow T5 Hotel Limited (and its parent Arora Holdings
Limited) will not be fined, as long as they continue to co-operate, as the
Arora Group applied for and was granted immunity under the CMA’s leniency
As part of this investigation, the CMA sent a number of warning letters
to other airports and hotel operators where there are, or were, reasonable
grounds to suspect they may also be party to agreements containing price
CMA Press release: Heathrow
and Arora admit to anti-competitive car park agreement (18.9.18)
CAA Press release: Civil
Aviation Authority statement on CMA anti-competitive car park agreement
We have issued an Open Letter
to airport operators and their relevant business partners following CMA’s airport
car parking investigation.
CAA East Midlands airport car parking
In December 2016, the
CAA found that East Midlands International Airport, and its parent company
Manchester Airport Group, and Prestige Parking Ltd infringed the Chapter I
prohibition of the Competition Act 1998 by participating in an agreement
between October 2007 and September 2012 (at the latest) to fix the minimum
prices that Prestige charged its customers for car parking services at the
airport. More information about this can be found in the case page.
Review of market conditions for
surface access to airports
In December 2016,
the CAA concluded a review of market
conditions for surface access at UK airports and issued an advisory letter setting out some
concerns identified by the review. The letter encouraged all market
participants to review their practices and ensure they are compliant with
competition and consumer law.
The CAA can also investigate complaints about the conduct of airports under some other pieces of legislation.
Links to the relevant pages on our website on these pieces of legislation are below:
In May 2016, we published a
market monitoring report reviewing the information provided by Aberdeen Airport under the undertakings given as a result of the Competition Commission's 2009 Market Investigation into the supply of airport services by BAA.
We've also prepared a
report in response to a call for evidence by the British Infrastructure Group (BIG) – a cross-party group of MPs whose goal is to promote better infrastructure in the UK. This report offers a number of observations on the three potential policy interventions to increase regional connectivity raised in the
BIG’s Call for Evidence: the role of government/Public Service Obligations (PSOs); renegotiating the EU slot regime; and discounts for domestic routes/incentives for smaller aircraft.
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