Stansted Airport being sold to Manchester for £1.5bn

Passengers at Stansted Airport Stansted's sale had been ordered by the Competition Commission

London's Stansted Airport is being sold to the owner of Manchester Airport for £1.5bn, it has been announced.

The airport is being sold by Heathrow Airport Holdings, formerly called BAA, which will continue to own London Heathrow, Southampton, Aberdeen, and Glasgow airports.

Heathrow Airport Holdings had to sell Stansted as a result of a ruling by the Competition Commission.

The sale is due to be completed next month.

Previous legal battle

Heathrow Airport Holdings chief executive Colin Matthews said: "Stansted Airport and its people have been part of our company for a long time.

"We wish the new owners every success and are confident the airport will continue to flourish. We will continue to focus on improving Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports."

Manchester Airport is owned by Manchester Airports Group, which is a holding company in turn owned by the 10 borough councils of Greater Manchester.

Heathrow Airport Holdings is owned by an international consortium led by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial.

The Competition Commission ruled in 2009 that the then BAA had to sell both Stansted and Gatwick due to concerns over a lack of competition between London's three main airports, which, led by Heathrow, were all owned by the same company.

BAA had already started proceedings to sell Gatwick, but launched a legal challenge against the order to sell Stansted. It ended this fight in August of last year, when it announced that Stansted was up for sale.

Manchester Airport is the third busiest in the UK, seeing a total of 18.9 million passengers in 2011. Stansted is the fourth busiest, with 18 million passengers that year.

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