Conduct in the transport sector (facilities at airports)

The CMA is investigating suspected breaches of competition law in relation to facilities at airports under Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998.

Timetable

Date Action
23 November 2018 Publication of non-confidential version of infringement decision
25 October 2018 (actual) Final decision on case outcome issued to parties
18 September 2018 Statement of objections issued
August 2018 A party agreed to settle the investigation with the CMA
May to September 2018 (estimate) CMA analysis and review of information gathered
May 2018 Decision taken to focus investigation on certain conduct and parties
December 2017 to April 2018 Initial investigation: information gathering, including issuance of formal or informal information requests and parties’ responses. CMA analysis and review of parties’ responses to information requests. State of play meetings with parties under investigation
7 December 2017 Investigation opened

Change log

The following changes have been made to the case timetable since it was first published in December 2017:

Date of change Reason for change Change made to timetable
29 May 2018 Additional time needed to gather and analyse additional information Date for taking decision on whether to proceed with the investigation or to close the investigation changed from April 2018 to May 2018.
29 May 2018 Additional time needed to gather and analyse additional information Date for completing initial investigation and information gathering changed from March 2018 to April 2018.

Non-confidential infringement decision and compliance work

23 November 2018: The CMA has published a non-confidential version of the decision in this case, in which Heathrow Airport Limited (and its parent Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited) were fined £1.6 million for breaking competition law. The CMA has published guidance to help businesses understand more about land agreements and compliance with competition law.

Infringement decision

25 October 18: The CMA issued a decision finding that Heathrow Airport Limited (and its parent Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited) and Heathrow T5 Limited (and its parent Arora Holdings Limited) have infringed competition law. The CMA has imposed a fine of £1.6 million on Heathrow.

Heathrow T5 Hotel Limited (and its parent Arora Holdings Limited) will not be fined – as the Arora Group applied for and was granted immunity under the CMA’s leniency programme.

Settlement and Statement of Objections

18 September 2018: Heathrow Airport Limited (and its parent Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited) and Heathrow T5 Limited (and its parent Arora Holdings Limited) have admitted infringing competition law and the CMA has issued a statement of objections to them. Both parties have accepted liability for an infringement which took the form of written signed agreements under which Arora agreed to a tenant’s covenant which precluded it from charging non-guests using the T5 Sofitel hotel car park lower rates than those charged at Heathrow airport’s car parks. 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 programme.

As part of this investigation, the CMA has also 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 restrictions.

Case information

On 7 December 2017, the CMA launched an investigation into suspected breaches of competition law in respect of facilities at airports. The investigation is under Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 (CA98).

Further detail of the CMA’s procedures in Competition Act 1998 cases is available in our guidance.

Notes

  • The Civil Aviation Authority is aware of the investigation. However, the CMA is the investigating authority and all enquiries should be addressed to the CMA.
  • Changes to the timing of original entries in the case timetable will be made where the estimated timing in the original timetable changes.

Contacts

Media enquiries

020 3738 6460, press@cma.gov.uk

Assistant Project Director

April Carr (020 3738 6204, april.carr@cma.gov.uk)

Project Director

Christiane Kent (020 3738 6250, christiane.kent@cma.gov.uk)

Senior Responsible Officer

Ann Pope (020 3738 6786, ann.pope@cma.gov.uk)

Anyone with information about suspected anti-competitive activity is encouraged to contact the CMA.

Published 8 December 2017
Last updated 23 November 2018 + show all updates
  1. Non-confidential infringement decision published.
  2. Infringement decision announced.
  3. Settlement and Statement of Objections published. Timetable updated.
  4. Timetable updated.
  5. First published.