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BAA Calls Time On Stansted Airport Appeal

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

27 August 2012


Manchester Airports Group has been tipped as the frontrunner to take over the United Kingdom's Stanstead Airport after airports operator BAA confirmed on August 20, 2012, that it would not appeal a Court of Appeal's ruling that will force the company to divest the asset on competition concerns.

BAA said: "Having carefully considered the Court of Appeal's recent ruling, BAA has decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court and is now proceeding with the sale of Stansted Airport. We still believe that the Competition Commission ruling fails to recognise that Stansted and Heathrow serve different markets."

Ryanair, which has long been a critic of BAA's management of Stansted welcomed the decision, and is reportedly seeking to buy a 25% stake in the airport.

However, Manchester Airports Group, which also operates airports in Bournemouth and the East Midlands is said to be the most likely candidate to take over the reins from BAA having received an assurance of financial backing from an Australian private equity group.

Korean state-owned Incheon Airport is also expected to challenge for the facility having had its bid for Edinburgh airport earlier rejected.

In a case running since 2008, the UK's Competition Commission confirmed in March 2011 that BAA would be required to relinquish ownership of Stansted airport, and later either Edinburgh or Glasgow Airport to foster increased competition in the UK market.

Stansted Airport is London's third busiest airport and the UK's fourth busiest airport. Presently, 17.5 million passengers and 133,500 flights operate through Stansted each year, although traffic has dropped substantially since 2007 when the airport serviced 24m passengers. The sale of Stansted will leave BAA with four airports: Heathrow, Southampton; Aberdeen and Glasglow.

TAGS: law | aviation

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