Airport operator may query Competition Commission's ruling to sell two London airports in tough market
The Competition Commission has ordered airport operator BAA to sell Gatwick and Stansted, following its two-year investigation into the group's position in the UK.
In its long-awaited final report, the body confirmed that BAA must also sell either Edinburgh or Glasgow airport within the next two years. The airports must be sold in sequence, starting with Gatwick, and must go to different buyers, the Commission said.
The commission said it was confident that different ownership of airports would increase competition, bringing significant benefits to passengers and airlines including lower prices.
But BAA said the findings were “flawed” and it may appeal the decision. Chief executive Colin Matthews said: “We might have to appeal if we reach the conclusion that it is simply not practical to proceed.
“It is not just a question of whether we agree or not with the Competition Commissioner's analysis, it is also a question of the practicalities of selling three airports in the current, extraordinarily tough [conditions].”
BAA has already put Gatwick up for sale, and three investors are in the final stages of bidding for the £1.7bn airport.
One of either Global Infrastructure Partners, Citigroup or a joint venture between Canadian fund Borealis and Manchester Airports Authority will emerge as the successful bidder for Gatwick during the spring.