UK airport operator BAA to put Stansted Airport on the block

UK’s BAA Airports Limited said today it will proceed with the disposal of London-based Stansted Airport Limited after deciding not to file an appeal to the Supreme Court against a court decision regarding a Competition Commission’s ruling.

As previously unveiled, BAA was ordered to sell Stansted along with two of its other UK airports. At the very end of February 2012, BAA said it had commenced appeal proceedings against a ruling by the Competition Appeal Tribunal that favoured the regulator’s decision from 19 July 2011 according to which the company should sell the London-located airport.

The appeal was rejected last month and BAA was expected to turn to the Supreme Court. Today BAA stressed it still believed the CC decision fails to recognise that the Stansted and Heathrow airports serve different markets, but it would not challenge the ruling any further.

In April 2012, the company announced it had entered into an agreement to shed Edinburgh Airport Limited to GIP for GBP807.2m (USD1.3bn/EUR1bn). As a result of that and following the sale of Stansted, BAA will end up controlling just four airports including Heathrow, Southampton, Aberdeen and Glasgow.

Stansted serves around 17.5m passengers and some 133,500 flights each year. The airport handles more than 205,000 tonnes of cargo annually and had a 2011 adjusted EBITDA of GBP86.6m. Around 10,200 people work at the site, of whom some 1,400 are BAA employees.