A deadline of October 23 has been set for bids to be submitted to takeover Stansted.
Spanish construction giant Ferrovial, which owns the airport’s parent BAA, has set the deadline after it the disposal was ordered by the Competition Commission.
A joint venture between Manchester airports Group and Australian infrastructure investor IFM is seen as favourite to win the auction after Ryanair withdrew from contention.
However, a number of suitors are reportedly lined up to buy the UK’s fourth largest airport for an expected £1 billion, including interests from Asia, Canada and Australiasia, the Sunday Times reported.
Meanwhile, the BAA brand is to disappear as the group moves to dispose of Stansted following the sale of Gatwick and Edinburgh airports.
The company will adopt the Heathrow name as the London hub will account for the majority of the business once Stansted is sold.
“The change is part of a process to cease using the BAA brand for a number of reasons, including the fact that practically BAA is no longer a group as Heathrow will account for more than 95% of the business once Stansted is sold,” the company said this morning.
“As a result, whilst each individual airport within the former BAA group will retain its brand and legal entity name, many of the holding companies within the group will assume the Heathrow brand.”
Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews said: “We are a different company today from when BAA was formed. 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.”
“Dropping the BAA name marks a symbolic break with the company of the past. 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.”
The company is starting the process of replacing the BAA name with each individual airport brand.