Stansted operator BAA appears to have abandoned hope of building a second runway at the airport after selling homes bought almost a decade ago in preparation for expansion.
BAA chief executive Colin Matthews revealed the sale of the homes in a letter made public yesterday.
Matthews said the sales process began in 2010, when the current government was formed and immediately made clear it would allow no new runways in the southeast.
BAA, the owner of Heathrow, has fought a three-year legal battle to retain ownership of Stansted after being ordered by the Competition Commission to sell the airport.
Business lobby group London First published a report yesterday calling for the ban on runway building in the southeast to be lifted. It described the government’s refusal to allow a third runway at Heathrow as “negligent”.