Stansted: Ryanair attacks BAA owner over ‘exclusion’ from sale process

BUDGET airline Ryanair has accused BAA owner Ferrovial of excluding it from the Stansted Airport sale process.

The Dublin-based carrier– which is the largest operator out of Stansted, accounting for nearly 70% of the airport’s passenger traffic – said it was withdrawing from discussions with potential partners after being told by Ferrovial that it would not consider selling to Ryanair or any consortium in which it was involved.

BAA, which was acquired by a consortium led by Spanish-based Ferrovial in 2006, also owns Heathrow Airport and has been ordered by UK regulators to sell Stansted on competition grounds.

Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said: “We regret Ferrovial’s decision to exclude Ryanair from the Stansted sale process and the failure of the Competition Commission to restrain this anti-competitive and anti-customer behaviour by Ferrovial.

“While we fully accept that Ferrovial is entirely free not to sell to Ryanair, we fail to understand how it can comply with competition law if Stansted’s biggest customer, accounting for 70% of the traffic, is excluded from this sale process.”

He added: “This year’s continuing traffic decline underlines the extraordinary damage done to Stansted airlines and passengers by the Ferrovial/BAA airport monopoly and we look forward to discussing cost reductions and traffic growth with the new owners of Stansted when it is finally sold.”

A spokeswoman for BAA said that the company was aware of Ryanair’s statement but it was its policy not to comment on the sale process.