Manchester Airports Group has become the new owner of Stansted after completing its £1.5 billion purchase of the Essex airport.

MAG, which had its offer for Stansted accepted last month, has bought the airport from Heathrow Airport Holdings, previously known as BAA, which was ordered to sell Stansted by the Competition Commission.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, said: “We’re delighted to have added Stansted to our strong portfolio of UK airports. We aim to help fulfil its potential in the London market and bring more choice to its passengers in the years ahead.

“Today represents the achievement of a major strategic ambition for MAG and we look forward to working alongside staff, partners and stakeholders in ensuring the group’s success.”

MAG already owns Manchester airport as well as East Midlands and Bournemouth which collectively serve more than 23.9 million passengers per year. The company is owned by the 10 borough councils which make up the Greater Manchester area.

Stansted catered for 17.5 million passengers during 2012 although this was down 3.2 per cent on the previous year.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, a MAG shareholder, added: “MAG is a key driver of jobs and growth in the north of England and the acquisition of Stansted will help us deliver maximum value for Manchester City Council and the other local authority shareholders.

“A larger, stronger MAG will benefit the whole region and we welcome confirmation that the acquisition has been completed.”

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