Manchester airport faces a probe over its market influence by the aviation regulator.

The Civil Aviation Authority is to act after receiving a request from an unnamed “interested party”.

The authority is to undertake a Market Power Determination (MPD) in relation to Manchester airport “to decide whether the market power test is or is not met”.

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If the CAA determines that the market power test is met, the airport operator in question would be subject to regulation by means of an economic licence, according to the regulator.

Appeals against MPDs can be made to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

A deadline of February 20 has been set for responses.

The regulator said: “In the case of large airports where the CAA has not previously carried out an MPD, as is the case with Manchester Airport, the CAA must do so if it receives a request from an interested party.

“The CAA’s preparations are at an early stage.

“The CAA has not reached a view on this matter and no assumption should be made at this point whether the market power test will or will not be met in relation to Manchester airport.

“As a result, it would not be appropriate to include any further estimates of the timing of any later steps at this stage.”

A Manchester airport spokesman said: “MAG [Manchester Airports Group] notes the CAA’s announcement regarding the request from an interested party to carry out a market power determination assessment of Manchester airport.

“Because the CAA has not previously carried out such a review for Manchester, it is under a legal obligation to agree to the request.

“We will participate in the review process and look forward to contributing to the CAA’s work programme.”