Ryanair has scrapped plans to become a part-owner of Stansted airport, claiming that Ferrovial, parent company of Stansted owner BAA, has advised that the low-cost carrier, or any consortium involving it, will be excluded from the sale process.
The airline says it has written to any party it has held talks with, advising that it will no longer pursue its interest in acquiring a minority stake.
A spokesman for Ryanair says: "While we fully accept that Ferrovial is entirely free not to sell to Ryanair, we fail to understand how it can comply with competition law if Stansted's biggest customer, accounting for 70% of the traffic, is excluded from this sale process."
Ryanair and BAA have a strained relationship, with the carrier frequently critical of what it perceives to be mismanagement of the airport and the high charges levied by it, which it claims have caused a dramatic fall in passenger numbers.
Airline chief executive Michael O'Leary said on 4 September that it might acquire a stake of up to 24.99% in the airport, which is being sold on the back of a ruling by the UK's competition regulator.