Spain's Ferrovial, which owns BAA, has been told to sell three British airports after a tough ruling by the Competition Commission. The firm, which bought BAA for £10bn two years ago, will have to sell two of its three London airports and one in Scotland. The commission will look at which ones should go, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, early next year.
- The reaction?
Surprise at the extent of the ruling was followed by an examination of the frontrunners to acquire the airports from Ferrovial, and a look at which airports were most likely to go. The move to seek new owners, which is apparently to better serve air passengers and airlines, drew a sceptical response from sector analysts, a mixed reaction from airlines, and concern over job losses from Unite, which represents 75,000 civil aviation workers.
- Who are the PR players here?
BAA corporate and public affairs director Tom Kelly will have a lot of work to do. Kelly, previously Tony Blair's official spokesman, instigated a departmental review earlier this year, and promoted Scott Colvin to the new post of group head of public affairs. He also appointed Malcolm Robertson as deputy director of corporate and public affairs.
- What happens next?
A lot of PR wheels will be turning, from carriers that operate through the airports, to unions and potential buyers. And the argument over whether the media as a whole see the move as positive is possibly not yet won, with Ferrovial airports unit BAA boss Colin Matthews having said: 'The (Competition) Commission risks delaying... delivery of new runways and making better customer service less, not more, likely.'
£10bn - Amount Ferrovial paid for BAA in 2006.