Terravision battles it out at Stansted

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £2.99.
A Terravision King Long coach is seen on Victoria Street, London on December 3. MIKE SHEATHER
A Terravision King Long coach is seen on Victoria Street, London on December 3. MIKE SHEATHER

Coach operator set to take airport to High Court over failure to grant it access to terminal

Budget coach operator Terravision has launched legal action against Stansted Airport after it was denied access to the popular east of England hub.

Terravision has accused Stansted of abusing its dominant position under the 1998 Competition Act. Abuse of dominant position complaints have also been lodged with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

It follows Stansted’s decision to invite coach companies to tender for the award of concession contracts for use of commercial spaces within the airport. The tender was awarded to National Express (NX), Autostradale (Airport Bus Express) and Metroline (Stansted Citylink), while Terravision was informed that its tender was unsuccessful and has now been required by Stansted to leave by January 13.

After it was obligated to cease operating from the bus station from October 2015,  Terravision ran its services out of the mid-stay parking area, two miles away from the main airport bus station and reachable only by a further shuttle operated by its competitor, NX.

Yakuta Rajabali, Vice President of Terravision, said: “We are the lowest cost choice for the consumer and have a 12 year track record of delivering an excellent service to customers at Stansted Airport. Why would Stansted take this action, when there is space for us to operate and the actions are patently against the interest of consumers? Their action has reduced choice and increased prices for passengers by refusing to allow healthy and fair competition.”

However, a spokesman for Stansted denied Terravision’s claims, explaining that the company lost an open tender in May 2014, after which it brought a legal claim against the airport. “Stansted Airport is clear that the tender process was fair and lawful, and is firmly defending the claim,” the spokesman said.

“Stansted airport is disappointed that Terravision appears to be so unwilling to accept the fact that its tender bid was unsuccessful and looks forward to vindication in the high court.”

Terravision said the case is expected to be heard by the High Court in London in the summer.

Terravision said it was informed by the airport that it had been unsuccessful in the tender by letter dated September 1, 2014. Notice was then given on April 7, 2015 requiring Terravision to leave the Passenger Transport Interface with effect from October 11, 2015. Terravision issued its legal claim on July 14, 2015. A licence to allow Terravision to operate out of the Mid-Stay Car Park (MSCP) pending the outcome of the claim was put in place on October 8, 2015, so as to allow operation from the MSCP from October 11, 2015. Notice to terminate this licence was given on January 6, 2016.