Hogan Lovells Successfully Advises Stansted Airport in Securing the End of Economic Regulation

26 March 2014 - Hogan Lovells has achieved an important victory for Stansted Airport, securing the end of economic regulation at the airport.

The Civil Airport Authority (CAA) published a decision on 25 March 2014 confirming that Stansted does not have substantial market power in relation to its cargo services, and therefore will not be subject to an economic regulation licence from April 2014.  This follows a decision on 10 January 2014, in which the CAA confirmed that Stansted's passenger business would not be subject to economic regulation.

The CAA's decisions in relation to Stansted's passenger and cargo businesses follow a two year review, and means that Stansted now has the freedom and opportunity to drive competition in the market.  Both Heathrow and Gatwick will continue to be subject to regulation until at least 2019.

As one of the first market power assessments to be made under the Civil Aviation Act 2012, the case involved complex competition and public law issues.  A cross-discipline team at Hogan Lovells, incorporating leading individuals within Hogan Lovells' specialist competition law and public law and policy teams, worked closely with Stansted's legal and regulatory teams to achieve this outcome.

Public law and policy partner Charles Brasted comments:

"The CAA's decision shows that active and focused engagement can persuade regulators such as the CAA to take a dynamic view across a range of relevant factors.  That included, in this case, the important changes to the commercial direction of Stansted following its acquisition by Manchester Airports Group plc."

Competition partner Christopher Hutton comments:

"The decision brings 25 years of economic regulation of Stansted's cargo and passenger businesses to an end.  This reflects a welcome recognition of the competitive position of Stansted, and is great news for Stansted and all of its users."

UK regional managing partner Susan Bright comments:

"This significant victory in the uncharted waters of a new regulatory regime demonstrates the power of a closely-coordinated and comprehensive engagement strategy drawing together the combined business, competition law and public law and policy expertise of both our client and Hogan Lovells. It has been a great team effort."

The team at Hogan Lovells was led by Susan Bright and included competition partner Christopher Hutton (assisted by senior associate Thomas Smith), and partner Charles Brasted (assisted by associate Julia Marlow) from Hogan Lovells' public law and policy team.  The team at Stansted included Tim Hawkins, Graeme Ferguson and Heidi Smith.

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