Belfast Telegraph

£807m deal to sell Edinburgh airport to GIP gets take off

By Peter Woodman

Edinburgh Airport is to be bought by the group that runs Gatwick and London City airports, it was announced.

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) will pay £807.2m to take over Edinburgh from current operator BAA which was forced to sell off the Scottish airport by the Competition Commission.

GIP said it hoped to complete the deal by the end of May.

GIP is an independent infrastructure fund manager.

Adebayo Ogunlesi, chairman and managing partner of GIP, said: "Edinburgh Airport is a high-quality infrastructure asset. Its acquisition is a landmark deal for GIP.

"We see significant opportunity to apply our tested and successful operational expertise and our knowledge of the global airports sector to develop and enhance the performance of Edinburgh Airport in years to come."

Michael McGhee, the GIP partner leading the acquisition, added: "We plan to work closely with the airlines to improve customer service and quality in a similar fashion to the strategy we are successfully executing at our existing UK airports, London Gatwick and London City.

"We expect to continue to develop Edinburgh into an attractive and efficient capital city gateway by improving the experience of our passengers, business and leisure alike."

GIP took over London City in 2006 and then bought Gatwick from BAA for £1.51bn in 2009.

Concerned at BAA's monopoly position regarding its ownership of UK airports, the Competition Commission ruled that BAA would have to sell Gatwick and Stansted as well as one of either Glasgow or Edinburgh Airports.

BAA is still disputing the Stansted ruling, having opted to keep Glasgow and sell Edinburgh.

Three years go, BAA ran as many as seven UK airports. But following the Edinburgh acquisition, and with Stansted expected eventually to be relinquished, the Spanish-owned company will operate only four - Heathrow, Southampton, Aberdeen and Glasgow.

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: "Edinburgh Airport and its team have been part of BAA for a long time and we are proud of its achievements.

"We wish the new owners every success and are confident the airport will continue to flourish," he added.

"BAA will continue to focus on improving passengers' journeys at Heathrow and its other airports."