U.K. airport operator BAA must start selling London Stansted airport, the country’s second largest cargo hub, and one of its Scottish airports, within three months, British authorities said Tuesday.
BAA, which owns London Heathrow airport, vowed to challenge Britain’s Competition Commission’s final ruling. The decree ends a two-year struggle against the Commission’s 2009 ruling that the company had a dominant position in the airport market and must sell three of its seven hubs, including London’s Gatwick and Stansted airports.
“This decision would damage our company which is investing strongly in UK jobs and growth,” BAA said in a statement.
“We have a responsibility to protest our shareholders’ investment and will now consider a judicial review of the Competition Commission’s decision.”
BAA, which is owned by Spanish construction company Grupo Ferrovial, sold Gatwick to US-based Global Infrastructure Partners for $2.4 billion in October 2009. BAA hoped to retain Stansted, a major hub for low cost carriers and one of Europe’s fastest growing airports.
Stansted, 35 miles north east of London and a regional hub for FedEx, handled 202,756 metric tons of freight in 2010, up 10.4 percent over the depressed 2009 figures. Freight volume at the airport was up 4.4 percent in the first six months of 2011 over the same period a year ago.
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