New Gatwick Airport owners to sell stake

GIP (Global Infrastructure Partners), which recently bought Gatwick Airport, has now announced that it will be selling a stake in the company sometime next year. However, it is still planning to keep control of the airport following any sale that takes place.

Gatwick Airport was sold for £1.51 billion when the Competition Commission forced BAA to break up its dominance of the market.

GIP has confirmed that the changes it will be making will include improving check-in times and enhancing the rail service to the airport. Michael McGhee, a partner at the company, said that the “focus is very much on the modernisation and improvement of Gatwick”.

GIP already has experience in the sector after buying London City Airport, which is popular with business flyers.

It sold a 25% holding in the airport to Highstar Capital in New York, and so it is planning to follow the same course of action with Gatwick.

It will also be hoping to improve the service in the same way that it did at London City Airport. One of the main improvements at London City Airport has been the improvement in the punctuality of flights.

McGhee said that although London City was a “different animal”, he confirmed that “a lot of the principles and processes we applied are pretty applicable at Gatwick”.

Bloomberg News quoted Airports Council International as stating that last year 34.2 million people travelled through Gatwick, making it the eighth busiest airport in Europe.

The first was Heathrow with 67 million, which BAA are certain to keep hold of.

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