Sale of Gatwick airport adds to heavy BAA losses

London's Heathrow airport operator BAA yesterday announced an annual loss of £822 million, which includes charges related to the forced sale of Gatwick airport.

According to the company, a £277 million charge linked to the sale of Gatwick added to the deficit.

Last October Global Infrastructure Partners, a private equity fund backed by Credit Suisse and General Electric bought the UK's second biggest airport for£1.5 billion after a Competition Commission ruling which faulted BAA for unfair competition practices.

BAA's underlying performance almost matched the projections of most analysts with adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rising 17 per cent to £885 million.

The operator's passenger numbers were down nearly 4 per cent at its two biggest remaining airports, with Stansted recording a sharp 11 per cent drop in traffic, compared with a dip of 1.5 per cent at Heathrow.

Both airports' retail revenues increased partly due to depreciation of sterling, but Heathrow outperformed Standsted with its adjusted Ebitda soaring 22.5 per cent even as Stansted's fell 13 per cent.