17th September 2008



Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) welcomes the announcement made by BAA today (17 September) that it is to sell Gatwick Airport.

The BAA announcement comes just four weeks after the Competition Commission issued its Provisional Findings report, concluding that BAA’s monopoly was not in the public interest and that it should sell two of its three London Airports. In effect this means Gatwick and Stansted because it is inconceivable that BAA would choose to sell Heathrow since it provides 65% of the profits earned by BAA’s seven UK airports.

As expected BAA intends to resist the Commission’s call for the sale of Stansted as well as Gatwick. This is merely prolonging the agony. The Commission’s Provisional Findings report catalogued BAA’s many shortcomings and provided thorough and compelling evidence to demonstrate the need for two of BAA’s London airports to be sold. The Commission is highly unlikely to change this central conclusion, when it publishes its final report next February, just because BAA does not like it.

It is therefore a case of “one down, one to go” and BAA’s reluctance to accept the reality of that situation means that Stansted’s employees and the local community face several months of unnecessary anguish and uncertainty.

Commenting, SSE Campaign Director Carol Barbone said: “BAA clearly wants a pat on the head from the Competition Commission for putting Gatwick up for sale in a last ditch attempt to retain ownership of Stansted. We expect it will be sorely disappointed.”

Campaigning to ensure Stansted Airport's authorised operations stay below harmful limits