Operator decides not to fight Competition Commission's recommendation for sale

BAA will give in to recommendations by the UK's competition watchdog and put Stansted airport up for sale, according to reports at the weekend.

The airport operator had previously said it would fight the Competition Commission's recommendation that it sell the UK's third-largest airport.

But reports over the weekend suggested that Ferrovial, the Spanish owner of BAA, was unwilling to fight the authorities over its perceived monopoly of the airports market.

The Competition Commission's final ruling on BAA's share of the airports market is due to be made next month, but interim rulings suggested that BAA should sell Gatwick, Stansted and one of its Scottish airports.

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.

The company's decision to sell Stansted was reported to have been influenced by the government's green light for Heathrow airport's expansion.

A source told the Sunday Times: ““There was no point in [BAA] going on fighting the Competition Commission. It has won on the bigger point of expanding Heathrow.”