Gatwick may be sold off

19-08-2008

Gatwick may be sold off
BAA may be forced to sell off Gatwick by regulators in a shake up of the UK's airports.

The Competition Commission (CC) is expected to publish the findings of its investigation into BAA, in which it is thought the watchdog will order the group's break up.

BAA operates several airports in Britain, including Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted and Southampton and nine out of ten passengers flying into the south-east use one of BAA's airports.

The CC has allowed BAA to control these airports as it has been argued this has been necessary to drive forward expansion plans.

However, in a preliminary report the regulator suggested separate ownership of the main London airports may now be in the public's interest.

BAA chairman Sir Nigel Rudd told the BBC this weekend that selling Gatwick would not be a disaster for the group.

Sir Nigel added BAA has already received "huge expressions of interest" for both Stansted and Gatwick.

Several companies have already made their interest clear. Budget airline Ryanair has denied reports it will be bidding for Stansted, although chief executive Michael O'Leary has said the firm will cooperate with any potential buyers.

German companies Hochtief and Fraport are also reported to be interested in a sale.

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