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BAA must sell Stansted, Gatwick and Edinburgh says watchdog

Airport giant BAA may be forced to sell three of its UK airports, including Gatwick and Stansted, following a provisional report by the Competition Commission.

The commission today confirmed that planned to break up ownership of the UK airports market, and said the sale of Gatwick – in West Sussex – alone would not be enough to increase competition.

It is understood the Competition Comission will demand BAA offload its airports at Edinburgh and Stansted as well.

BAA, which has been under fire for many months for poor performance, runs seven UK airports, including Heathrow.

However it is expected the company will strongly oppose the forced sell-off, with BAA chief executive Colin Matthews claiming the commission has failed to “set out compelling evidence to support its view that selling Stansted as well as Gatwick will increase competition”.

A final report is on BAA's seven UK airports, and the appropriate remedies, is expected to be published in late February or early March 2009.