Speculation grows over sale of Gatwick Airport

The start of 2018 has already brought speculation that there may be an imminent sale of Gatwick Airport.

With a national newspaper reporting the speculation it has done nothing but stir up the interests from local businesses and leaders of how this would affect the local economy and infrastructure.

Suggested reports of huge increases in dividend payments due to the large swell in passenger numbers over the past year do indicate a rapid growth for the countries second busiest airport but also add fuel to the logic of a sale.

Currently owned between a plethora of investors and GIP, Global Infrastructure Partners, Gatwick has seen numerous improvements and advances since it was bought from BAA back in 2009.

Recently more exciting news came when Crawley Council approved the building of a new multi-million pound maintenance hub for Boeing at Gatwick, bringing even more jobs to the area.

What is uncertain though, is if a sale was to go ahead, whether it would occur before or after a decision on the second runway, as this would have huge implications on the airports value.

Local leaders have already commented on the speculation;

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“Ever since BAA sold Gatwick to GIP almost a decade ago the airport has been seen as an investment asset and if transferred again now it’s no great surprise. The positive of Gatwick’s private ownership is the over £1 billion which its owners have put in.

Crawley people should be cautious though that any further airport sale isn’t just about getting an extra runway, taking the profit and leaving local people with the cost of providing the rail, road and housing infrastructure that would be needed with such expansion.”
Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive of Gatwick Diamond Business, commented:

“it’s not a surprise to see this speculation on the possible sale of Gatwick Airport.  When GIP bought the airport in 2009 the financial method they used had a 10-12 year life and we’ve seen 58% already sold to Institutional Investors.”

“The bigger question is around the next runway as that decision will have a big impact on the value of Gatwick and, of course on the likely owners. 

To my mind, it makes sense for GIP to hold onto their investment and to be the people behind the development of Gatwick’s second runway; something we continue to lobby for.”

Steve Sawyer, Executive Director of Manor Royal Business District Ltd said:

“The important thing for us is that, if Gatwick is sold, we maintain good relations with the owners and they understand the various relationships between the airport and surrounding area, including Manor Royal. 

Since GIP has taken over Gatwick has flourished. I’m sure it’s even more attractive to a prospective buyer than it was and would be more so with permission to expand.
Some have speculated that GIP would sell at some point, so perhaps no major surprise but we will have to see.
It’s not a particular concern provided we can maintain positive relations to ensure the airport can succeed alongside and as part of the success of the area as a whole and not to its detriment. “
A spokesperson for Gatwick said they do not comment on speculation.

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1 COMMENT

  1. But Henry supports a third Runway at Heathrow which will incur at least £8bn of public expenditure on road & rail infrastructure & housing … paid for by local people.

    Come on Henry, get behind Gatwick & the infrastructure that could benefit your constituents!

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