BAA confirms sale of Gatwick airport
BAA has today confirmed the sale of Gatwick airport to Global Infrastructure Partners for £1.51 billion.
The sale of the airport is due to be finalised at the end of the year – subject to approval by the European Union.
The sale marks the end of BAA’s 40-year monopoly of London’s three main airports – Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.
However, the £1.51 billion sale price was less than BAA had hoped for. The group was reluctant to go below £1.6 billion and had originally hoped to achieve £1.8 billion for the airport.
BAA, which is set to use the proceeds of the sale to pay down its £10 billion debt burden, was ordered to sell the airport after a Competition Commission inquiry established that there was a lack of competition between airports.
The commission also ruled it had to sell Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports, but is appealing against the decision.
Commenting on today’s sale, Colin Matthews, BAA chief executive, said it will now focus on improving Heathrow and its other airports and added that “it wished Gatwick well for the future and are confident that the airport will flourish under new ownership.”
Gatwick has been the UK’s second largest airport since 1958. However, the airport has suffered in the wake of the economic downturn with a fall in passenger numbers since many airlines using the airport have gone bust.