BAA given last chance to appeal Stansted sale

At  the Royal Courts of Justice in London, BAA was told  it could make its case for the final time before the Court of Appeal. No date has been set for a hearing. This means the 3-year long battle by BAA to avoid having to sell Stansted drags on, yet again.  The legal battle started back in March 2009 with a Competition Commission ruling that ordered the break-up of BAA.  It has already had to sell Gatwick and Edinburgh airports, and BAA argues that the aviation market has changed substantially since the original ruling.  It also stresses that Stansted does not compete with its only other remaining London airport, Heathrow.  The airport’s MD says the ownership battle had hampered the airport’s ability to grow and attract more airlines, and it has lost about a quarter of its passengers since 2007.



Comment from Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE):

The long running saga over the future ownership of Stansted Airport is set to continue for several more months, at least, following an announcement by the Court of Appeal that it is prepared to hear another appeal from BAA.  This is despite the fact that BAA’s last appeal was dismissed on all five grounds.

SSE’s Economic Adviser Brian Ross commented: “Like King Canute, BAA is fighting a battle which it must know it cannot win.”


BAA’s three-year battle to keep hold of Stansted is set to drag on after the airports operator was on Monday given another chance to appeal the forced sell-off.

Stansted strike: Q&A for travellers

Stansted airport bosses say the three-year ownership battle has “doubtlessly” dissuaded some new carriers from flying to the airport. 

By   (Daily Telegraph)

28 May 2012

The protracted ownership tussle dates back to a Competition Commission ruling in March 2009 that ordered the break-up of BAA.

At the Royal Courts of Justice on Monday, the airports operator was told it could make its case for the final time before the Court of Appeal.

The judgement comes after the Competition Appeal Tribunal in February dismissed BAA’s challenge of the sale.

BAA has already been forced to off-load Edinburgh and Gatwick airports and argues conditions in the aviation market have changed substantially since the original ruling.

It also stresses that Stansted does not compete with its only other remaining London airport, Heathrow.

BAA said: “We are pleased that permission to appeal has been granted and look forward to presenting our arguments before the Court of Appeal.”

The latest appeal will be expedited by the courts to settle an issue that has long been a thorn in the side of Stansted airport bosses.

Nick Barton, managing director of Stansted, said the ownership battle had hampered the airport’s ability to grow and attract more airlines.

Stansted has lost almost a quarter of its traffic since 2007’s peak of 23.8m passengers.

Mr Barton said: “It’s never helpful when ownership is a big question mark and it’s been a huge question mark for three years or so.

“It is doubtlessly causing concern to some people.”

Ryanair last night hit out at the courts’ decision to grant yet another appeal.

The low cost carrier, which accounts for 70pc of Stansted’s traffic, claims it is BAA’s seventh appeal of the ruling.

A Ryanair spokesman accused BAA of delaying tactics to “maximise the proceeds they can achieve for the sale”.



Some earlier news stories about the sale of Stansted airport:



February 29, 2012    BAA has announced that it has initiated appeal proceedings against the Competition Appeal Tribunal’s judgment of 1 February 2012, upholding the Competition Commission’s ruling that BAA must sell Stansted Airport. This means that the uncertainty over the future ownership of Stansted Airport is set to continue for at least another six months. Once again, BAA has waited until the very last day before lodging its appeal – just a few hours before the deadline.    Click here to view full story…

Manchester Airport owners agree restructure to fund Stansted acquisition

February 15, 2012     Greater Manchester’s 10 councils have agreed in principle to restructure their ownership of Manchester Airport to fund a swoop for Stansted. Manchester Airports Group is seeking equity investment to give it the firepower to buy Stansted. MAG is currently owned by the 10 local authorities, with Manchester city council holding a 55% stake and the others 5% each. Proposals have been put to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, seeking approval for a new ownership model to be adopted if an external investor can be secured.     Click here to view full story…

Stansted sale: BAA loses appeal against ruling

February 1, 2012   BAA has lost its appeal against a ruling by the Competition that it must sell Stansted airport. The CC first ruled 3 years ago that BAA’s dominance in London and Scotland meant it must sell Gatwick, Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports. BAA continued to fight the Stansted decision. Its appeal has now been dismissed by the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, a judicial body whose panel is made up of judges and industry experts. BAA had argued that Stansted served a different market from Heathrow, and are used by different airlines, so they argued it was not anti-competitive for it to operate both airports. BAA does not want to have to sell Stansted in such an unfavourable economic climate.   Click here to view full story…


BAA agrees finally to sell back the 279 houses it has been hanging onto at Stansted

January 31, 2012    BAA has finally agreed to sell back all the 279 houses around that airport that it bought, when hoping to build a second runway. Most were bought around 8 years ago, but some as much as 30 years ago. But there is no timescale yet for the sales. This is a major shift in the company’s position; in March 2011, Mr Matthews declared that just some of the BAA-owned houses around the airport would be sold, whilst those which might one day be needed for a 2nd runway would be retained. However, BAA is still refusing to sell back the houses it owns around Heathrow on the grounds that they might one day be needed to make way for a 3rd runway there. Stop Stansted Expansion welcomed the news, which is long overdue, and will help remove the blight and uncertainty which has overshadowed the community for far too long.     Click here to view full story…


BAA opts to sell Edinburgh airport for £500m and keep Glasgow

October 20, 2011    BAA is putting Edinburgh Airport up for sale with an estimated price tag of about £500m. They chose Edinburgh instead of Glasgow, as it would fetch a higher price, is performing better and would be easier to sell. Bidders include GIP (owns Gatwick), Manchester Airports Group, Borealis Infrastructure, and Macquarie. BAA is now starting sale preparations and expects to formally approach the market in the New Year in order to agreeing a sale by Summer 2012.   Click here to view full story…


BAA ordered to sell Glasgow or Edinburgh airport before selling Stansted

October 8, 2011    BAA has been told by the Competition Commission that it must sell either Edinburgh or Glasgow before it sells Stansted. Earlier this year it had said BAA should sell Stansted first, but BAA appealed which has caused delay. So now the sale of one of the Scottish airports must be brought forward, and will begin soon, as it will take longer for Stansted to be sorted out. BAA says it is now clearer than ever “that Heathrow & Stansted serve different markets.”    Click here to view full story…


BAA considers appeal to EU human rights court over forced ‘fire sale’ of two airports

25th July 2011    BAA is considering appealing to the European Court of Human Rights in a last-ditch attempt to avoid having to sell 2 airports, saying having to sell them now is unfair as they will fetch a poor price. Last week the CC issued what it claimed was a final ruling, after years, that BAA must sell Stansted and Edinburgh or Glasgow.  BAA’s Spanish owner, Ferrovial, is considering a judicial review, which even if unsuccessful could delay a sale process until 2012.    Click here to view full story…


BAA must sell off two airports

19th July 2011     The Competition Commission has givenits final ruling, that BAA must sell 2 of its UK airports – Stansted followed by either Edinburgh or Glasgow. The sale process will start in 3 months “or sooner if undertakings are accepted from BAA in the meantime”, the CC said. This follows a provisional ruling on the sales made in March this year and ends a two-year saga which began in March 2009 when the CC made what was seen then as a final report on BAA’s airport ownership.  Click here to view full story…


SSE says: Time for BAA to accept defeat at Stansted

19th July 2011    Stop Stansted Expansion has condemned BAA’s suggestion that it will apply for judicial review of today’s final verdict from the Competition Commission ordering BAA to sell Stansted Airport by the end of next year.  SSE say the uncertainty has gone on far too long and BAA should now respect the CC’s ruling and the courts and sell Stansted as quickly as possible.  BAA should not be allowed a repetition of the previous lengthy appeal process.   Click here to view full story…


BAA set for legal fight if ordered to sell airports

18th July 2011   BAA could seek a judicial review against the Competition Commission if, as expected, it is ordered to sell Stansted and one of its Scottish airports. The CC indicated earlier this year in a preliminary review of a 2009 ruling that it was still minded to order the forced divestments in order to increase competition in the airport market in south-east England and Scotland. The final report on 19th is expected to give BAA 18 months to arrange an auction. Click here to view full story…