Arriva v Luton Airport abuse of dominance case

What was the client issue?

Bus and train transport service operator, Arriva, had been operating a bus service between Luton Airport and London Victoria for the past 30 years. In May 2013 Luton Airport stopped giving Arriva access to the airport bus station, and instead granted National Express, which also provides bus and train services, an exclusive concession in exchange for a significant proportion of National Express' passenger revenue. This agreement was due to run for seven years and also granted National Express the right of first refusal over the operation of other services on routes between the airport and other destinations in London. 

How did we help the client solve it?

Oxera provided an expert report to the High Court, with Gunnar Niels, Oxera Director, acting as an expert on behalf of Arriva. We assessed whether the bus station was an essential facility, analysed the boundaries of the downstream market, and considered the effect of Luton Airport's actions on competition in the downstream market. Through close monitoring of media coverage, we were able to update Arriva on important developments, some of which proved material to the case and helped strengthen its position. 

Why was the outcome compelling for the client?

In January 2014 the court determined that the terms of the agreement with National Express represented an abuse of dominance by Luton Airport. The judgment relied heavily on Oxera's economic evidence, noting that: 'Dr Niels was a clear and helpful witness' and 'his report and his oral evidence [were] most useful in clarifying the proper approach to the issues in the case.'