Just two left in bidding war for BAA’s Edinburgh Airport

THE field of bidders for Edinburgh Airport has narrowed to a straight fight between a group of investors led by JP Morgan and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).

Their private equity rivals for the asset, 3i and Carlyle, are said to have pulled out of what is expected to be a £500m race for the Scottish transport hub.

BAA, which also owns Heathrow, is being made to sell the airport by the Competition Commission, and is currently in a dispute over whether it will also have to give up Stansted airport.

GIP benefitted from the previous mandate from competition authorities that BAA, which is controlled by Spanish company Ferrovial, sell Gatwick.

If GIP snaps up Edinburgh Airport, however, regulators could decide to prevent any further acquisitions by the firm.

BAA is set to make a decision in the coming weeks over its preferred bidder, meaning it will offload the airport before any conclusion is reached on the possibility of Scottish independence

But there are fears that high air passenger duty imposed from Westminster will slash volumes. A BAA-commissioned report has claimed that the rising tax could cut passenger numbers by 1.2m. Currently, over 9m travellers pass through Edinburgh Airport each year on 40 airlines – although Ryanair recently snubbed the airport, reducing its flights there.