UK panel rejects BAA's Stansted appeal

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LONDON (AP) — Airport operator BAA has lost its appeal against an order to sell Stansted airport, British competition authorities said Wednesday.

BAA, which owns Heathrow airport, had been ordered in 2009 to dispose of Stansted and Gatwick airports, which also serve London, together with Edinburgh airport after the Competition Commission, the U.K's antitrust watchdog, found the group had dominated the UK market.

The company's latest appeal was rejected by the Competition Appeals Tribunal.

"It is now surely time for BAA to accept our findings and proceed with the necessary divestments," said Laura Carstensen, who chairs the Competition Commission's BAA Remedies Implementation Group.

BAA, which is owned by Spanish infrastructure group Ferrovial, said it was disappointed with the ruling, "which we will now carefully consider before making any further statements."

BAA sold Gatwick for 1.5 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) to Global Infrastructure Partners in 2009. However, it had fought against giving up Stansted, a major hub for European regional air service. The company is also in the process of selling Edinburgh airport.

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