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BAA must sell three airports

LONDON, Mar 19 – Britain\’s Competition Commission ruled on Thursday that airport operator BAA must sell two big airports, Gatwick and Stansted, and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports within two years in a landmark anti-trust case.

Gatwick, largely used for charter flights, is the second-biggest airport in Britain after Heathrow near London, and is the 10th-busiest in the world, Gatwick airport website says.

The chairman of the BAA Airports inquiry, Christopher Clarke, said in a statement that the decision was "the only way to address comprehensively the detriment to passengers and airlines from the complete absence of competition between BAA’s south-east airports and between Edinburgh and Glasgow."

BAA, owned by Spanish construction group Ferrovial, runs seven airports in Britain.

Ferrovial posted a 2008 net loss of 838 million euros (1.1 billion dollars), a sharp turnaround from net profits of 734 million euros in 2007.

Gatwick is already up for sale following preliminary recommendations by the Competition Commission. The anti-trust body ruled that Stansted airport should be sold next and then either Glasgow or Edinburgh.

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