BAA Will Appeal Ruling to Sell UK Airports

BAA Airports Ltd., the owner and operator of seven British airports and the operator of several other airports worldwide, is launching an appeal against the UK Competition Commission’s order to sell three of its airports. The hearing starts later today. The commission ruled earlier this year that BAA must sell Gatwick, StanstedEdinburgh or Glasgow airports within two years and .

BAA is already planning to sell Gatwick, and has appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal in a case expected to last three days. BAA will argue there was an “apparent bias” because of a link between a member of the ruling panel and an organisation interested in buying the airports.

On the issue of “proportionality,” BAA says the Commission failed to take into account, or carry out an assessment of, material considerations of selling the airports, particularly in the context of the current financial and economic environment.

In its report, the Commission concluded that the common ownership of south-east England airports by BAA - which also runs Heathrow - adversely affected competition.

At the start of this year, BAA said its annual profits had fallen by 18.4 percent as the economic downturn dented passenger numbers.