BAA ditches name following airport sell-offs

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London Heathrow airport owner and operator BAA is being rebranded in response to the forced divestment of several key assets over recent years.

Effective 15 October, the BAA parent company's name will cease to exist and each of its airports will operate under standalone brands.

BAA sold London Gatwick airport in 2009 and Edinburgh airport in 2012, following a ruling by the UK's Competition Commission. It is also in the process of finding a buyer for London Stansted airport

Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews says the rebranding is an acknowledgment of the changing face of BAA.

"We are a different company today from when BAA was formed," he says in a statement. "The BAA name no longer fits. We do not represent all British airports; we are not a public authority; and practically speaking the company is no longer a group, as Heathrow will account for more than 95% of the business."

Describing the rebranding as a "symbolic break with the company of the past", he says the airport subsidiaries will now focus on improving operational performance and enhancing passenger facilities.

The Competition Commission forced BAA to sell three of its seven UK airports in 2009, arguing that the operator's dominance in Scotland and southeast England was having a negative impact on passenger services.

BAA launched a volley of legal challenges to the ruling - even as it proceeded with the sale of Edinburgh and Gatwick to Global Infrastructure Partners - but the operator eventually acquiesced this August.

In the same month, the Qatar Investment Authority, the emirate's sovereign wealth fund, purchased a 20% stake in BAA for £900 million ($1.45 billion).

BAA (SP) Limited is now legally called Heathrow (SP) Limited, while BAA Funding Limited has changed its name to Heathrow Funding Limited. In addition to Heathrow, the company retains ownership of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports.