The long running saga over the sale of Stansted is to run even further after owner BAA won the right to appeal against a sell-off order.
BAA went to the Court of Appeal yesterday seeking a chance to overturn a decision by the Competition Appeal Tribunal in February upholding a 2009 Competition Commission order that it sell Stansted, Gatwick and one of its Scottish airports.
The airports operator complied with the disposal order in the case of Gatwick, which it sold in 2009, and Edinburgh, which was sold last month.
But it has resisted selling Stansted, making multiple appeals since 2009 – including through a judicial review that year and an application to the Supreme Court in 2010.
BAA plans to argue in this latest appeal that the original ruling has been misinterpreted and that Heathrow and Stansted compete with each other only to a limited extent.
It will also contest the commission’s approach to assessing the cost to BAA of a forced sale.
The company said: “We are pleased that permission to appeal has been granted and look forward to presenting our arguments before the Court of Appeal.”
The Competition Commission said it looked forward to restating its case.
The Court of Appeal has not yet given a date for a hearing but a ruling is not expected before autumn.
The airport’s biggest customer Ryanair criticised the decision to hear BAA’s appeal.
“This seventh appeal will further delay the sale of Stansted, proving yet again that the BAA has no regard for passengers, competition or tourism as it attempts to retain its stranglehold over London traffic,” the airline said.
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