Sale of Belfast International Airport to Vinci Airports hailed as opportunity for further investment in Co Antrim
Belfast International Airport has been sold to Vinci Airports in what is thought to be a multi-billion pound deal.
Infrastructure investment manager OMERS has sold its interests in Airports Worldwide, whose portfolio includes Belfast International Airport.
As part of the deal, Vinci has bought the airport outright and has acquired a 90% stake in Skavsta Airport near Stockholm.
The transaction will close later this year.
Belfast International Airport welcomed 5.8 million passengers in 2017.
Law firm Pinsent Masons said it had led advice to Vinci Airport about the purchase of the airport.
Vinci Airports has 36 facilities across the worlds in locations including Cambodia, Portugal, France and Japan.
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South Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA Steve Aiken hailed the sale the airport as offering the prospect of continuing its recent growth and expansion.
He said: “The sale of Belfast International Airport to a major worldwide airport operator, Vinci, is to be welcomed as it opens the way for further investment in the facility.
"Belfast International has enjoyed impressive passenger growth over the past three years. This year, it is expected to exceed 6 million passengers for the first time ever.
"Hundreds of new jobs and significant investment in on-site facilities have taken place, and my hope is that that level of activity will be maintained.
“Vinci is buying into a winner. It is now time to abolish Air Passenger Duty (APD) and build a dual carriageway to the airport and help ensure that under its focused and committed senior management team, the airport continues to break new ground and expand.
“In fact, the team is currently attending Routes Europe 2018 in Bilbao seeking to convince airlines, offering new international destinations, to consider Belfast International Airport as a base.
“Belfast International Airport is of vital importance to the Northern Ireland economy and I am confident that it will continue to play a full and active role in developing our international links and inbound tourism offering in the years to come.”
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