Ryanair has withdrawn its interest in buying Stansted Airport, claiming BAA majority owner Ferrovial has vowed to exclude the budget airline from the sale.
The airline had been looking to buy a 25% stake in the airport, as part of a consortium, but has now announced it will withdraw from the process so as not to “prejudice” other investors. Ryanair said it will continue to explore “rapid traffic growth” opportunities that it believes are available at Stansted, and called on the new owner of the airport to reverse what it sees as damaging price increases.
Ryanair’s head of communications, Stephen McNamara, said: “We regret Ferrovial’s decision to exclude Ryanair from the Stansted sale process and the failure of the Competition Commission to restrain this anti-competitive and anti-customer behaviour by Ferrovial. While we fully accept that Ferrovial is entirely free not to sell to Ryanair, we fail to understand how it can comply with competition law if Stansted’s biggest customer, accounting for 70% of the traffic, is excluded from this sale process.
“This year’s continuing traffic decline underlines the extraordinary damage done to Stansted airlines and passengers by the Ferrovial/BAA airport monopoly and we look forward to discussing cost reductions and traffic growth with the new owners of Stansted when it is finally sold. The only way Stansted’s traffic decline can be reversed is if its uncompetitive charges are significantly reduced, initially by reversing the disastrous 100% price increase imposed by the BAA monopoly at Stansted in 2007.”