BAA must sell London Stansted, the U.K.’s second largest air cargo hub, after a court rejected the airport operator’s appeal against a ruling by anti-trust regulators.
The ruling ended a three-year battle between BAA and the Competition Commission, which alleged the company’s ownership of seven UK airports, including London Heathrow, unfairly hurt competition. BAA sold London Gatwick to U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Partners for $2.4 billion in 2009 to comply with the Commission’s ruling.
The Commission later ordered BAA to dispose of one of its three Scottish airports, followed by the sale of Stansted, an airport 50 miles north east of London that handles all-cargo and express carriers and budget airlines.
BAA, which is owned by a consortium led by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, is selling Scotland’s Edinburgh airport but has fought to retain Stansted, which handled around 204,000 metric tons of cargo in 2011.
BAA will remain a major cargo player even after it disposes of Stansted because London Heathrow is challenging Amsterdam as Europe third-largest freight airport, with traffic totaling 1.48 million tons in 2011.
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