Court of Appeal tells BAA to sell Stansted and a Scottish airport

BAA lost the latest round of a long-running legal saga with the competition authorities over its dominance of the UK's airports yesterday, meaning that it will now be forced to sell Stansted, and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports.

The group, owned by the Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial, lost a hearing in the Court of Appeal brought by the Competition Commission.

The case followed a ruling in the Competition Appeals Tribunal earlier this year which found in favour of BAA: that an investigation by the commission was biased because a committee member – Professor Peter Moizer – was an adviser to Manchester Airport's pension fund, which had expressed an interest in investing in an airport.

BAA, which operates Heathrow and has already been forced to sell Gatwick airport, said it would appeal to the Supreme Court. The company argues that the Court of Appeal accepted that "apparent bias" existed during part of the commission's investigation.

"We are disappointed that the Court of Appeal has upheld two of the five grounds argued by the Competition Commission," a BAA spokesman said. "We note the court's view that apparent bias in relation to a panel member existed during part of the commission's investigation and will study this judgment carefully. We will be seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court."

The earlier tribunal had found that there was apparent bias in the investigation, but yesterday's hearing upheld an argument by the Competition Commission that this was true only between December 2008 and March 2009, after the pension fund had informed Professor Moizer of its intentions.

The Court of Appeal ruled that Professor Moizer's connection to the Manchester Airport pension fund was too remote to have influenced the original recommendation that BAA be forced to sell off a number of assets.

"We are pleased that the Court of Appeal has found in our favour in the BAA case," a Competition Commission spokesman said.

"The effect of this decision is to restore in full our report together with its remedies including the requirement for BAA to sell Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports, Gatwick having already been sold. Our intention now is to work with BAA to implement these measures in the interests of the travelling public."

The commission said it was tightening its procedures following the decision, and that it took "very seriously the need for our inquiry panels to be completely impartial".

Sources close to the commission conceded that it was not surprised that BAA was seeking leave to appeal.

It is understood that BAA will press Professor Moizer's involvement as the central element of its appeal. BAA believes that having established that there was "apparent bias" after December 2008, it has a strong case.

A source close to the company said: "Several key decisions were taken after that date, including the timetable and the criteria for purchasers. It is not just a technicality."

Chris Yates, an independent aviation analyst, said yesterday: "I'm sure that BAA will do everything it can to challenge this decision – Stansted has been a cash cow for the company and gives it a strong footprint in the South-east of England.

Separately, it is believed that Highstar Capital, which owns a 25 per cent stake in London's City airport is hoping to raise as much as £200m from selling the stake.

New York-based Highstar refused to comment, while Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the majority owner, did not return calls. GIP also bought Gatwick from BAA last December.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Carlton Senior Appointments: Private Banking Manager - Intl Bank - Los Angeles

$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer – Office...

Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advisor – Ind Advisory Firm

$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Finance Manager

Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Sheridan Maine: Regulatory Reporting Accountant

Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'