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NEWS Last modified on October 15, 2012

BAA name dropped in shock rebrand for UK airport operator

It is the end of an era for BAA with the company announcing that the name is to be dropped in favour of stand-alone brands for its airports.

It is the end of an era for BAA with the company announcing that the name is to be dropped in favour of stand-alone brands for its airports.

Its airports – Heathrow, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Southampton and Stansted – will cease to be called BAA gateways from today.

Heathrow CEO, Colin Matthews, said the group was a “different company” from when it was first formed, adding that it no longer represented all British airports.

He added: “Over the last few years we have sold our stakes in Gatwick, Edinburgh, Budapest and Naples airports and we are in the process of selling Stansted.

“The BAA name no longer fits. We do not represent all British airports, we are not a public authority, and practically speaking, the company is no longer a group, as Heathrow will account for more than 95% of the business.”

Matthews said dropping the BAA name marked a “symbolic break with the company of the past”.

The company is now starting the process of replacing the BAA name with each individual airport brand.

It will continue to publish quarterly financial results for airports financed with publicly-traded debt.

Following the sale of Stansted, the results will focus solely on Heathrow.

Matthews added: “We want Heathrow’s focus to be on its customers, to continue to improve its operational performance and to carry on investing billions of pounds in new passenger facilities.

“This summer, the Olympics and Paralympics showed the UK and Heathrow at their best, delivering a welcome of which the UK could be proud. Now we have to build on that welcome still further, providing a better experience to our customers every single day.”

History of BAA

Early 1960s: The Ministry of Defence controls all commercial aviation but as air travel becomes more popular running airports becomes too complex and time-consuming for central government.

1965: Labour minister Roy Jenkins introduces the Airports Authority Bill. It is intended to make the nation's airports more flexible and able to generate revenue while remaining responsible to Parliament. The British Airports Authority is established and assumes responsibility for Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Prestwick airports the following year.

1971: The British Airports Authority acquires Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow airports.

1986: The Airports Act is passed, the Authority is dissolved and all its property, rights and liabilities are passed to a new company, BAA. The following year BAA is floated on the Stock Market.

1992: Prestwick airport is sold.

2005: BAA acquires Budapest Airport.

2006: A consortium led by Ferrovial purchases BAA and BAA de-lists from the Stock Exchange.

2007: BAA sells Budapest Airport.

2009: The Competition Commission orders the sale of Gatwick, Stansted and one of either Edinburgh or Glasgow Airports. BAA appeals against the decision to sell Stansted and Edinburgh or Glasgow. The £1.51 billion sale of Gatwick Airport to an entity controlled by Global Infrastructure Partners completes in December 2009.

2010: BAA sells its stake in Naples airport for £130 million.

2012: Edinburgh Airport is sold to Global Infrastructure Partners for £807 million. BAA announces the start of the sales process for Stansted Airport.

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