Ryanair's eyes on Stansted

Ryanair, the low cost carrier, is in talks about buying a 25 per cent stake in London Stansted airport, which is up for sale for an estimated £1bn.

The company, which is Stansted's biggest customer, operating 41 planes from the airport, indicated its interest after the current owner, BAA, ended a protracted legal battle to prevent its sale, which had been ordered by the Competition Commission in 2009.

It admitted in a Stock Exchange announcement yesterday that it has held discussions "with a number of parties who are interested in bidding for Stansted".

The airline added: "In some of these discussions Ryanair has confirmed that it is willing (subject to a competitive cost offer) to deliver traffic growth at Stansted over a five-year period and has been asked to consider acquiring a minority stake (of less than 25 per cent) should a successful consortium consider it necessary or valuable to commit Ryanair to Stansted airport as a minority equity investor."