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BAA to sell Stansted airport

Airport operator BAA has decided to sell Stansted airport after a protracted battle in the courts, it has been revealed.

The Competition Commission ruled in 2008 that BAA was too dominant in the London and Scottish airport markets and would have to sell Gatwick and Stansted, as well as either Edinburgh or Glasgow.

It has since sold Gatwick and agreed to sell Edinburgh but had challenged the Stansted sale because it said Stansted should not be considered as serving the same market as Heathrow because they are not used by the same airlines and they serve different markets.

However, the firm lost its appeal in February and today said that, having “carefully considered” that ruling, it had decided against appealing to the Supreme Court.

“We still believe that the Competition Commission ruling fails to recognise that Stansted and Heathrow serve different markets,” it added.

Stansted for sale

Stansted airport is London’s third busiest airport and the UK’s fourth busiest airport. It performs an important role as London’s base for low-cost airlines. Around 17.5M passengers and 133,500 flights pass through Stansted every year.

Some 16 airlines operate from Stansted, serving more than 150 destinations in 32 countries.

The airport is a major cargo centre with over 205,000t of cargo handled a year.

Around 10,200 people around at Stansted including 1,400 BAA employees.

Stansted’s Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and exceptional items) was £86.6M in 2011.

The sale of Stansted will leave BAA with four airports: Heathrow; Southampton; Aberdeen; and Glasgow.


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