Gatwick and Stansted airports will have to be sold, the competition commission has ruled.
Its decision followed an inquiry into the airports owned by operator BAA. The commission concluded: “Under the common ownership of BAA, there is no competition.”
The commission has said it will consider responses to its recommendations before publishing a final report on BAA’s seven airports.
However, it is unlikely the ruling will affect transport links, which are so vital to companies with their offices in London.
It also made clear it wanted to see a “continued and improved focus on the needs of airlines and passengers in terms of investment and the level and quality of service”.
Christopher Clarke, chairman of the inquiry said it was proposing “the sale of Gatwick, Stansted and Edinburgh airports to new independent owners with the operating capabilities and financial resources to develop each of them as effective competitors”.
BAA has objected to the ruling, its chief executive Colin Matthews said he did not believe it had “set out compelling evidence to support its view that selling Stansted as well as Gatwick will increase competition”.