BAA, the UK airports operator owned by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, has announced that it will sell Edinburgh Airport in response to the Competition Commission’s demand that it sell one of its Scottish airports and London’s Stansted Airport.
“Choosing which airport to sell has been a difficult decision,” commented BAA chief executive Colin Matthews. “Edinburgh is a great airport with a great team and a great future and we will be very sorry to see it leave BAA. Passenger numbers at Edinburgh have grown by more than 6 percent over the past year and in an uncertain market we expect it to be an attractive asset to prospective buyers,” he added.
BAA said it is beginning preliminary preparations for the sale with a view to tapping the market early next year. The sale is expected to be concluded by the summer of 2012, the airports operator said.
The sale announcement is the latest twist in BAA’s tussle with the UK’s competition watchdog, which recently reiterated its decision to force BAA to sell London’s Stansted Airport and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports, in Scotland. Since BAA is still appealing against the sale of Stansted in the courts, the airports operator had struck a deal with the Competition Commission to allow it to sell one of its Scottish airports first.
BAA describes Edinburgh Airport as “Scotland’s largest airport with approximately 9.2 million passengers every year and over 100,000 flights”. Over the last 12 months, passenger numbers have grown by 6.1 percent and by 9.5 percent since the start of this year, BAA added.
After BAA sells Edinburgh Airport, it will be left with a portfolio of five UK airports including Heathrow, Stansted, Southampton and Aberdeen.