Why? Because back then, low-cost no-frills airlines looked like a niche market with limited potential, compared with the generous margins to be earned on intercontinental long-haul routes. The temporary collapse of the transatlantic market and the general downturn of the aviation industry post-September have reversed this trend. Now low-cost airlines are almost the only ones still managing profits, and they benefit greatly from the losses of big airlines, as predatory pricing has become too expensive. There is a good reason why Lufthansa pulled out of Stansted, for example. They just cannot afford trying to compete with low-cost airlines while their cash cow markets are suffering. So they cut their losses and try to concentrate on those segments where money can still be made. And suddenly, low-cost airlines find themselves with less competition, cheaper expansion possibilities (eg used aircraft) and a solid customer base that is not affected by post-September reluctance to fly. If BA had failed to sell go by September, they'd probably be more than happy to hang on to it.