Under immense pressure in the face of adverse comments made by competition commission authorities, UK airport operator BAA has now put London Gatwick Airport up for sale. The offer has drawn immediate interest from Virgin Atlantic.
Spanish-owned BAA said it would begin the sale process immediately.
BAA's move follows a critical report last month from the UK's Competition Commission, which spoke of poor levels of service for airlines and passengers, as also from a publicity fiasco early on in the year when the inauguration of London Heathrow's new Terminal 5 erupted in chaos. This fiasco took months to resolve.
In its recommendations the Competition Commission has said that BAA should relinquish control of two of its three London airports and another one in Scotland.
Heathrow is the jewel in the crown of BAA's UK operations and it is not disposed to sell it or Stansted. It is also holding out on selling either Glasgow or Edinburgh in Scotland.