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BAA says to sell Edinburgh airport after competition ruling

Spanish-owned BAA on Wednesday said it would sell Edinburgh airport after Britain’s competition watchdog ordered the company to offload either Glasgow airport or its hub in Scotland’s capital city.

BAA said in a statement that it hopes to complete the sale of Scotland’s largest airport by mid-2012.

“Edinburgh is a great airport with a great team and a great future and we will be very sorry to see it leave BAA,” the company’s chief executive Colin Matthews said.

“We remain committed to Scotland and we will continue our long-term investment to improve passenger and airline experience at Aberdeen and Glasgow, as well as at Edinburgh until the sale is complete.”

Edinburgh airport handles about 9.2 million passengers on 100,000 flights each year, BAA added.

The Competition Commission had two years ago ordered BAA to sell London Gatwick and Stansted airports, as well either Edinburgh or Glasgow.

The group, which is owned by Spanish transport infrastructure giant Ferrovial, has managed to keep hold of London Heathrow airport, Europe’s biggest in terms of passengers handled.

Earlier this month, Ferrovial cut its stake in BAA to just under 50 percent, but still holds the largest stake of any investor in the operator of British airports.

BAA also owns Southampton airport in southern England. It sold London Gatwick airport to US investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners for £1.5 billion (1.7 billion euros) in late 2009.