Airports Act 1986

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Airports Act 1986
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to provide for the dissolution of the British Airports Authority and the vesting of its property, rights and liabilities in a company nominated by the Secretary of State; to provide for the reorganisation of other airport undertakings in the public sector; to provide for the regulation of the use of airports and for the imposition of economic controls at certain airports; to make other amendments of the law relating to airports; to make provision with respect to the control of capital expenditure by local authority airport undertakings; and for connected purposes
Citationc. 31
Territorial extentGreat Britain
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Text of the Airports Act 1986 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from

The Airports Act 1986 (c. 31) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The act reformed civil aviation in Great Britain and privatised the British Airports Authority from a public department into BAA as a private company.[1] It also granted additional regulatory powers to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).[2]


BAA's logo

The British Airports Authority was established in 1965 by the Airports Authority Act 1965 to take management of the UK's larger airports into public ownership under a government authority.[3] The Airports Act 1986 transferred the powers relating to running government owned airports from the British Airports Authority from the public sector to the private sector as part of a Conservative Party government policy of privatisation.[4] BAA plc. was created as a result of the act to take over the authority's responsibilities.[4] The act also granted statutory authority to the CAA to continue to regulate civil aviation in the United Kingdom as well as BAA.[1] At the time of passage, BAA became responsible for London Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Airport, London Stansted Airport, Glasgow Prestwick Airport, Glasgow International Airport, Edinburgh Airport and Aberdeen Airport.[4] The act only applied to Great Britain and does not apply to Northern Ireland.[5]

The act also included a number of miscellaneous provisions that were eventually mirrored in airport bylaws. This had the effect of making breaches of airport bylaws punishable under criminal law. An example of this was in 2016 where two people were arrested and charged for being "drunk or under the influence of drugs or other intoxicating substances" in "a restricted area of the airport" contrary to Sections 63 and 63.1 of the Airports Act.[6]


  1. ^ a b Scott, Peter. "Economic Regulation of the Airports of the UK" (PDF). University of Bath. Retrieved 2018-03-15. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "Our statutory duties". CAA. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
  3. ^ "The end of BAA". The Construction Index. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
  4. ^ a b c Wearden, Graeme. "History of BAA". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
  5. ^ "Development of airport is vital to North West, says MPs". News Letter. Belfast. Archived from the original on 2018-03-16. Retrieved 2018-03-15 – via HighBeam Research.
  6. ^ "Stag pair missed trip after being arrested for claiming there was a bomb on their plane". Glasgow Live. 2016-06-01. Retrieved 2018-03-15.