Europe/ CIS: BAA to sell Gatwick in bid to appease watchdog

BAA put London Gatwick up for sale last month, a move it described as a “realistic response” to the UK Competition Commission’s provisional report released last month that raised concerns over the company’s ownership of seven UK airports including three serving London. Though BAA said it does not agree with the CC’s provisional fi ndings, […]


BAA Gatwick sale


BAA put London Gatwick up for sale last month, a move it described as a “realistic response” to the UK Competition Commission’s provisional report released last month that raised concerns over the company’s ownership of seven UK airports including three serving London.

Though BAA said it does not agree with the CC’s provisional fi ndings, a precursor to a fi nal decision expected early next year on whether BAA’s airport holdings should be broken up, it conceded that it needs to take measures to resolve “current uncertainty” over future ownership of London’s airports.

It is unclear whether selling LGW will satisfy the CC, which in last month’s report leaned toward recommending that BAA sell two of the three London airports as well as either Edinburgh or Glasgow.

The airport operator, a subsidiary of Grupo Ferrovial, indicated yesterday that it would like to retain both London Heathrow and Stansted, saying that “a change of ownership [at Stansted] would interfere with the process of securing planning approval for a second runway, which remains a key feature of [UK] air transport policy.”

BAA CEO Colin Matthews said, “Gatwick has long been an important and valuable part of BAA and the decision to sell was not taken lightly.” Analysts pegged LGW’s value at more than £2 billion (US$3.6 billion). Gatwick handled 35 million passengers last year, second most in the UK behind London Heathrow.