U.K. competition regulators are expected to order airport operator BAA next week to sell London Stansted Airport, the country’s second largest cargo hub, within 18 months.
The Competition Commission’s final report on BAA’s presence in the U.K. airport sector is set to back its decision in March rejecting the company’s appeal against the enforced sale of Stansted.
BAA will also be told to sell either Glasgow or Edinburgh airport in Scotland.
Stansted, 35 miles north east of London, handled 202,756 metric tons of cargo 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.
The Competition Commission ruled in 2009 that BAA must sell three of its seven U.K. airports, including London Gatwick and Stansted and one of its Scottish airports, to increase competition. BAA sold Gatwick to U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Partners for $2.4 billion in October 2009, but hoped to retain Stansted, a major hub for low cost carriers and one of Europe’s fastest growing airports.
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