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BAA to sell Gatwick

Airport operator BAA has announced its plans to sell Gatwick Airport.

The Ferrovial-owned group said it made the decision in light of the Competition Commission’s provisional findings – despite disagreeing with the report.

In the UK BAA owns and operates London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Southampton airports.

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: "Gatwick has long been an important and valuable part of BAA and the decision to sell was not taken lightly.

"We will continue to present our case, in respect of the South East airports and those in Scotland. At Stansted, we believe that a change of ownership would interfere with the process of securing planning approval for a second runway, which remains a key feature of Government air transport policy.”

BAA will appoint financial advisors soon and sector experts predict the airport will be sold for up to £3 billion.

Gatwick is the busiest single-runway airport in the world and the second largest airport in the UK.

Its development strategy for the future focuses on the airport's expansion as a single-runway, two-terminal airport, as it grows to handle around 40 million passengers a year by 2010/2011.