BAA to appeal airports break-up

LONDON (Reuters) - Airports operator BAA is to appeal an order by competition regulators to sell three of its airports, including two in London, saying the ruling did not take into account current economic conditions.

The company, majority owned by Spain's Ferrovial, said in a statement on Monday it was disputing the March ruling on two grounds.

These were a failure to take into account the tough financial and economic backdrop against which the sales would have to take place, while adding that the report was "affected by apparent bias."

"This is because of links between a member of the Competition Commission panel and an organisation interested in acquiring the airports that BAA is required to sell," it added.

A spokesman for the Competition Commission said it would "defend its case vigorously."

The break-up ruling was delivered by the regulator in March. BAA is already trying to sell Gatwick, and said in the statement the sales process continued.

It has short-listed two potential buyers for Britain's second busiest airport.

(Reporting by John Bowker, Editing by Kate Holton)

Article Published: 18/05/2009