9th April 2011

BAA owners finally admit that Stansted will be sold

After years of BAA fighting the Competition Commission over attempts to force it to sell Stansted, the company’s Spanish owner Ferrovial has at last admitted that it plans to sell the Essex airport.

Speaking to financial media after the company’s annual general meeting last week, Ferrovial Chief
Executive Inigo Meiras said that while the company is still studying whether to appeal against the Competition Commission’s ruling that it must press ahead with the break-up of its UK airport network, it planned to sell Stansted and a Scottish airport regardless.

However, the timing of such a sale remains unclear, with Inigo Meiras adding that “right now there’s no decision on starting the sale process because we’d like to wait until the market looks a bit more positive”.

While welcoming this statement as refreshingly honest in contrast to earlier pronouncements by BAA, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) views this as confirmation that Ferrovial took the decision to sell Stansted a very long time ago and has been appealing against the Competition Commission ruling simply as a means of playing for time in the hope that market conditions for a sale would improve.

SSE Economics Adviser Brian Ross commented: “For more than two years BAA management at Stansted has been denying there is any intention of selling the airport but the cat is now finally out of the bag. It’s saddening that a once-proud company can be so duplicitous with its employees and the local community. BAA should now go, and go quickly.”

NOTES

Inigo Meiras is the CEO of Ferrovial SA, the majority (56%) shareholder in BAA. He was speaking to financial journalists after the company’s annual general meeting on 1 April 2011.

Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport