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Airport boss welcomes new owners

Belfast International Airport has been sold by its Spanish owners to a US firm.

The sale by Abertis to Texas-based ADC & HAS Airports Worldwide is part of a 284 million euro (£244 million) acquisition package that also includes Stockholm's Skavsta Airport and the company's management business in the US.

The deal, which is pending the approval of local authorities and regulators in the US, will not affect day-to-day operations at the airport at Aldergrove in Co Antrim.

The airport was purchased by Abertis from UK operator TBI in 2005.

Belfast International Airport Managing Director John Doran said: "We see this as a very positive vote of confidence in Belfast International Airport, and look forward to working with the new shareholder to further and significantly develop the potential of this asset."

Last year, Abertis sold Cardiff Airport to the Welsh government for 61 million euro (£52 million).

South Antrim Assembly member Danny Kinahan welcomed the purchase of Belfast International. He said the new owners had "demonstrated their faith in the future of Northern Ireland".

"Belfast International is a jewel in the crown of the Northern Ireland economy and I look forward to working with the new owners to further promote the airport's valuable place in Northern Ireland and indeed Ireland," said the Ulster Unionist representative.

"Our ports and airports are key to expanding the local economy and supporting the growth and development of Northern Ireland businesses on the global stage."

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