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The CAA has powers under the Civil Aviation Act 2012 to license airport operators that pass a market power test.
This test consists of three parts:
a) that the airport operator has, or is likely to acquire, substantial market power in a market, either alone
or taken with other such persons as the CAA considers appropriateb) that competition law does not provide sufficient protection against the risk that the airport operator may
engage in conduct that results in an abuse of the substantial market powerc) that, for users of air transport services, the benefits of regulating the airport operator by means of a
licence are likely to outweigh the adverse effects
We have issued guidance on how we intend to approach the market power test and to make market power
The guidance and the summary of responses are below:
We consulted on Draft Guidance from December 2015 to February 2016. The draft guidance and consultation document are
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has received a request from an interested party for the CAA to undertake a Market Power Determination (MPD) in relation to Manchester Airport, under section 7 of the Civil Aviation Act 2012 (the Act), to decide whether the market power test is or is not met. In the case of large airports where the CAA has not previously carried out an MPD, as is the case with Manchester Airport, the CAA must do so if it receives a request from an interested party.
As per the CAA’s market power test guidance (CAP 1433), the CAA is now at a planning stage. During this period, the CAA may contact the airport operator and other relevant parties to obtain information from them and to seek their views. Interested parties that would like to discuss this with the CAA should email firstname.lastname@example.org by 20 February 2020.
If the CAA makes a determination that the market power test is met, the airport operator in question would be subject to economic regulation by means of an economic licence, as set out in Chapter I of the Act. Appeals against MPDs may be made to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
The CAA’s preparations are at an early stage. The CAA has not reached a view on this matter and no assumption should be made at this point whether the market power test will or will not be met in relation to Manchester Airport. As a result, it would not be appropriate to include any further estimates of the timing of any later steps at this stage. Further details of the CAA’s procedures in relation to MPD is available in our guidance (CAP 1433).
The CAA has decided to postpone further work and the formal commencement of this MPD process until at least August 2021. In reaching this decision, the CAA has considered its prioritisation principles and has taken into account, among other things: the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on the aviation industry; and a request from the requesting party that we postpone the formal commencement of the MPD process.
The CAA intends to engage with the requesting party, the airport operator and other interested stakeholders before August 2021 to better understand stakeholders’ views on this matter at that time. Interested parties that would like to discuss this matter with the CAA may email email@example.com
Starting in May 2011, the CAA undertook market power assessments of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports. In January 2014, the CAA published its findings that Heathrow and Gatwick met the market power tests. The CAA found that Stansted did not meet the tests for services to passenger airlines at the airport. In March 2014, the CAA found that Stansted did not meet the tests for services to cargo airlines at the airport.
The CAA's market power determinations for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted are below:
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