London: UK watchdog body, the Competition Commission, has said it will require BAA to sell Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh airports. The watchdog body said the decision though was subject to a final consultation but it felt it was necessary to improve levels of service at UK airports.
BAA, in turn, said it did not believe the Commission had "compelling evidence" that Stansted should be sold. It also said that there was "no justification" for specifying which Scottish airport should be sold.
"We do not believe that it has set out compelling evidence to support its view that selling Stansted as well as Gatwick will increase competition and we remain concerned that its proposed remedies may actually delay the introduction of new runway capacity," BAA said.
In August, the watchdog had indicated that the BAA may have to sell three of its airports because of a lack of competition.
"Under separate ownership, the airport operators, including BAA, will have a much greater incentive to be far more responsive to their customers, both airlines and passengers," the Competition Commission said.
BAA, which runs seven UK airports, was bought by Spanish firm Ferrovial for more than £10bn in 2006.
BAA had put Gatwick up for sale following the Competition Commission's initial report in August. The airport has been valued at £1.8bn by regulators.
Potential bidders include Australian company Macquarie, Germany's Fraport, and the owners of Manchester airport. Virgin Atlantic too has said it would bid as part of a consortium.
The Competition Commission said it would publish its final report in late February or early March after considering responses to its provisional decision.