The Competition Commission has again ordered BAA to sell Stansted airport and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airport in order to comply with its 2009 ruling.
Spanish-owned BAA, which also owns Heathrow, Southampton and Aberdeen airports, was ordered in 2009 to sell three airports. It subsequently sold Gatwick airport to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) for £1.51 billion but has commenced several legal battles to avoid the sale of another two airports.
In February 2011 BAA lost its latest attempt to stop the sale of Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh. The company wanted the Supreme Court to allow it to appeal a previous Court of Appeal decision that the Competition Commission can force it to sell a further two airports.
BAA is arguing that there have been “material changes in circumstances” since the original 2009 ruling that mean it is no longer necessary to sell another two airports for the sake of competition. It is referring to the Government’s decision to rule out further runways at any of London’s airports.
A BAA spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear our appeal.”
The Competition Commission is maintaining that the original 2009 ruling is still relevant. Peter Freeman, the Commission’s chairman, said that decision is “the right one for passengers and airline.”
The Commission has said that it believes there is even “greater capacity” available since the original ruling and this will increase competition at London’s airports.
BAA has been ordered to sell off Stansted first as it has more passengers than either Glasgow or Edinburgh. The company must then decide which of the two Scottish airports to dispose of in order to comply with the Commission’s ruling.