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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) brings together the Competition Commission (CC) and the competition and certain consumer functions of the OFT. The CMA takes on its full powers and responsibilities on 1 April 2014.

Stansted deal completes BAA sell off

21 Jan 2013


The Competition Commission (CC) has approved the sale of Stansted Airport by Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly BAA) to Manchester Airports Group (MAG).


The sale was announced late on Friday evening (18 January) and marks the completion of the three airport disposals which the CC ordered in its report into BAA’s ownership of seven UK airports in 2009 (PDF, 56 Kb) . In total, the three airports serve over 60 million passengers each year and their sale realized a disposal value in excess of £3.5 billion.

GIP (Global Infrastructure Partners) bought Gatwick Airport from BAA in December 2009.  BAA mounted a series of legal challenges to the CC’s decisions challenging, in particular, the sale of Stansted. While this process was under way, BAA completed the sale of Edinburgh Airport, also to GIP, in April 2012. After the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) (in February 2012) and the Court of Appeal (in July 2012) upheld the Stansted decision, BAA proceeded with the current sale.

This approval follows an extensive process in which the CC has reviewed potential buyers to ensure that they will be an effective competitor by meeting its criteria on appropriate expertise, financial resources, independence from BAA and absence of further competition concerns. The CC will also now consult on draft undertakings provided by MAG, which prevent the change of ownership of Stansted Airport within five years unless the CC is satisfied that any new purchaser satisfies the CC’s criteria.

Laura Carstensen, Chairman of the BAA Remedies Implementation Group and a member of the original Inquiry Group, said:

'We’re delighted both to approve the sale of Stansted to MAG and to conclude the entire divestiture process. We are sure that Stansted will gain from the introduction of a new management approach and also that passengers and airlines will benefit from a much more competitive airport market in London and the South-East.
 
'People might look back in a few years’ time and see this divestment programme as self-evidently the right action but we have had to work hard to make our case and defend it in the face of several legal challenges.

'Although customers are already starting to see the initial positives from greater competition in the South-East and Scotland, benefits such as better customer service, infrastructure improvements and development of routes  will only become fully evident in coming years.

'At a time when the competition regime in this country faces significant change, it’s worth stressing that it is the UK’s market investigation regime that has enabled us to solve the problems in this market and secure these benefits for customers – in way that wouldn’t be possible elsewhere.

The undertakings are available here.

Notes for editors

1. The BAA Remedies Implementation Group (PDF, 38 Kb)  consists of: Laura Carstensen (Chairman of the Group), Jayne Almond, Peter Jones and John Smith.
 
2. Media enquiries should be directed to Rory Taylor or Siobhan Allen or by ringing 020 7271 0242.