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20 August 2012, 10:36
Airport operator BAA is to give up its long legal battle over the forced sale of Stansted Airport.
The company, which recently lost a Court of Appeal ruling over Stansted, said it would not make a further appeal and would proceed with the sale of the Essex airport.
The Competition Commission (CC) had originally ruled that BAA must sell Gatwick, Stansted and one of its Scottish airports following an inquiry into the company's airport ownership.
BAA said today (Monday August 20th): "We still believe that the CC ruling fails to recognise that Stansted and Heathrow serve different markets.''
The BAA decision today ends a process which began as far back as March 2007 when the Office of Fair Trading referred BAA airport services to the CC.
The CC ruling that BAA must sell off Gatwick, Stansted and one of either Glasgow or Edinburgh Airports was made in March 2009.
Gatwick was sold to Global Infrastructure Partnerships (GIP) in December 2009 and GIP also took over Edinburgh Airport last year.
BAA mounted a series of legal challenges to the CC ruling, with the latest one - against the sale of Stansted - ending in defeat at the High Court in July this year.
After that latest loss, BAA said it would appeal to the Supreme Court but today the Spanish-owned company signalled an end to its fight to hang on to Stansted.
BAA, which formerly ran seven UK airports, will have responsibility for just four - Heathrow, Southampton, Glasgow and Aberdeen - once the Stansted sale is concluded.