BAA vows to appeal latest Stansted ruling

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BAA will mount a legal challenge in the UK's highest appellate court after suffering another setback in its bid to retain ownership of London Stansted airport.

The Court of Appeal today upheld a 2009 Competition Commission ruling, which instructed the airports operator to sell three of its seven gateways in Scotland and southeast England.

Global Infrastructure Partners subsequently purchased London Gatwick airport for £1.5 billion in October 2009 and Edinburgh airport for £807 million in April 2012. But it has mounted a series of legal challenges over the Stansted sale.

"We're disappointed that the Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the Competition Commission," BAA says. "We will now consider its judgement carefully and we intend to submit an appeal to the Supreme Court."

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews argues that depressed market valuations in the current economic climate will have a "damaging impact" on shareholders, in turn deterring foreign investment.

But the Competition Commission stands by its ruling, insisting that BAA's former monopoly on airports in Scotland and southeast England was having a negative impact on passenger services.

"We are pleased that our decision on Stansted airport has once again been upheld," the regulator says. "It remains the right decision in the interests of passengers and airlines, and it is surely now time for BAA to accept the verdict and proceed with the sale."