David Prosser: BAA will keep playing for more time

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The Independent Online

Outlook The wheels of justice can't grind slowly enough for BAA. Though the airports operator lost the latest round of its spat with the Competition Commission in the Court of Appeal yesterday, it is seeking permission to appeal. And you can see why – the company is still smarting from the disappointing price it had to accept for Gatwick last year, when the regulator's original ruling that BAA should be broken up forced it to sell a trophy asset at the height of the recession. The longer it can delay the day it has to put Stansted and one of Edinburgh or Glasgow airports up for sale, the more chance it has to secure a better price as the global airline industry recovers.

Even the eight months that have passed since BAA first went to court to fight the regulator's ruling have seen its prospects improve dramatically. During that time, IATA has revised its forecast for the performance of the globalairline industry this year from a $2.8bn loss to an $8.9bn profit. That's a backdrop that is just alittle more conducive to sellingairports at a decent price.