UPDATE 1-Ryanair withdraws from Stansted airport sale process

(Adds detail, background)

LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Ryanair said it would notbe taking part in the sale of London's Stansted airport afterthe airport's owner, BAA, excluded the budget airline from theprocess.

Stansted, Britain's fourth-busiest airport, was put on theblock by Ferrovial-owned BAA in August after it wasforced to sell off assets by the country's competitionregulator.

Ryanair had previously stated that it had held talks withpotential bidders for Stansted after it was asked to consideracquiring a minority stake as part of a consortium.

But Ferrovial had now excluded Ryanair from the process, theairline said on Tuesday, without citing any reasons.

"Since Ryanair does not wish to prejudice other potentialinvestors in Stansted, it has written to all investors/consortiait has held discussions with to advise them that Ryanair willnot participate in the sale process or seek a minority stake,"it said in a statement.

BAA was not immediately available to comment.

Around 70 percent of Stansted's traffic - 18 millionpassengers last year - was with Ryanair, the airline said.

The battle for the airport - which analysts estimated inAugust could fetch up to $2 billion - is expected to drawManchester Airports Group, U.S. banks, pension funds and Asianoperators.

(Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Paul Sandle)

((rosalba.obrien@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 20 7542 3431)(ReutersMessaging: rosalba.obrien.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: RYANAIR/