UK AIRPORT operator BAA must sell two of its airports, competition chiefs said today in a final ruling.
BAA, which runs six UK airports including Heathrow, will have to sell Stansted followed by either Edinburgh or Glasgow airport, the Competition Commission (CC) said.
The sale process will start in three months "or sooner if undertakings are accepted from BAA in the meantime," the CC said.
Today's announcement follows a provisional ruling on the sales made in March this year and ends a two-year saga which began in March 2009 when the CC made what was seen then as a final report on BAA's airport ownership.
In that March 2009 ruling, the commission said BAA must sell Gatwick -- since disposed of -- as well as Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow.
But there were then a series of legal challenges by BAA to the ruling, which ended with the CC findings being upheld.
The CC then considered whether there had been material changes in circumstances since the 2009 ruling.
Both in the provisional ruling in March this year and in today's final report, the CC said the sale of the airports was fully justified.
It added that passengers and airlines would still benefit from greater competition with the airports under separate ownership, despite the current Government's decision to rule out new runways at any of the London airports.