Reports in the UK media suggest that Irish airline, Ryanair Holdings, has launched a $3.9 billion bid for London Stansted airport, which would also be aimed at proving to operator British Airports Authority (BAA), and UK civil aviation regulators, that airlines can run the airport much better.
Airline chief executive, Michael O'Leary, told The Daily Telegraph that "BAA knows we're interested." He also said that he was confident the Competition Commission would soon recommend the break-up of the airport operator. BAA, owned by Spanish company Ferrovial, has stated that it has no intention of selling any of its seven UK airports.
O'Leary has said he believes that the three London airports, Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick should all be owned by separate operators. The Irish carrier has 43 active aircraft based at Stansted and O'Leary has made his resentments about the high landing fees levied at the airport well known.
O'Leary told the Telegraph that he plans to "take it (Stansted) up from 24 million passengers today to more than 40 million by halving landing fees for all". He also added that it may be possible to "have a second runway for £150 million and second terminal for £250 million".
Responding to the report, BAA said that "while we are heartened that he (O'Leary) sees the long-term value of Stansted airport, it is not for sale".