BAA yesterday vowed to fight the UK competition watchdog over its plan to make the embattled owner of Heathrow sell Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh airports to break its dominance of the industry in Britain.

Joaquín Ayuso, chief executive of Ferrovial, the Spanish construction and infrastructure group that majority-owns BAA, said the UK company would use “all available mechanisms at its disposal” to protect its position.

The Competition Commission wants the biggest shake-up in the UK’s airports sector since BAA was privatised 21 years ago, proposing a raft of measures including improvements to much-criticised investment and service levels at Heathrow.

Ayuso said he thought there was “no rational argument” to justify the forced sale of any of the seven airports owned by BAA, which Ferrovial and its consortium partners acquired for more than £16bn, including debt, in 2006.

Financial Times