Airport operator BAA has decided to sell Edinburgh airport following a Competition Commission ruling that it must sell either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports.
BAA announced today that it has begun preparations for the sale, with the formal sales process to commence in the New Year and completion likely by next summer.
Colin Matthews, BAA chief executive, said: “Edinburgh is a great airport and we will be sorry to see it leave BAA. We remain committed to Scotland and will continue our long-term investment at Aberdeen and Glasgow.
The Competition Commission has also ordered BAA to dispose of Stansted, but BAA has lodged a further appeal.
Matthews said: “Choosing which airport to sell has been difficult. Edinburgh Airport has shown itself to be strong and resilient throughout the economic downturn. Passenger numbers have grown by more than 6% over the past year and, in an uncertain market, we expect the airport to be an attractive asset to prospective buyers.”
He added: “Glasgow Airport has great opportunities for growth and BAA is well-placed to build on its recent success.”
Edinburgh is Scotland’s largest airport, handling more than nine million passengers a year, and on a par with Luton as the fifth or sixth-biggest airport in the UK.
Glasgow handles about 6.8 million passengers a year, but is Scotland’s leading long-haul airport. Passenger numbers at Glasgow have grown 2.5% over the past 12 months and by 5.7% since the start of 2011.