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Speculation grows over sale of Gatwick Airport

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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 Comment

  1. Jeremy Taylor

    2nd January 2018 at 2:08 pm

    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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Business

What to expect when Primark reopens in Crawley in two weeks

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Primark is working re-open their stores on the 15th june and the store has been working hard to ensure their employee and customer safety is their highest priority.

So what can customers expect to find implemented when they reopen?

Social distancing:

There will be a limit on the number of customers allowed in store at any one time to allow for the appropriate distance in between customers and employees, following government guidelines.

There will be clear signage and floor decals, as well as dedicated employees and additional security staff, to guide customers through the store in a way that limits contact with others.

Every second till will be closed to allow more space between customers and between employees.

The store will temporarily close off fitting rooms and customer toilets.

Personal protection for employees and customers:

Hand sanitiser stations will be made available at the entrance and on the shop floor and back of house for employee and customer use. Face masks and gloves will be made available to all Primark employees.

Perspex screens have been installed on tills to protect customers and employees.

Increased in-store cleaning:

The frequency and rigour of store cleaning will increase, particularly around high frequency touchpoints such as tills, escalators, lifts, and employee areas in back of house.

A basket cleaning system is also being introduced.

Primark CEO, Paul Marchant, said:

“As we re-open our stores in England, nothing matters more than the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers.

“We have really missed our customers and we are delighted to be back on 15 June and able to provide them with the quality, affordable products they love from Primark.

“We know that life for our customers is going to look different for a while. We want our stores to be safe and reassuring places to shop and work. While it might take a little longer to get into our stores, once inside, customers will find all their favourite Primark products and we have worked hard to make sure that clear signage and extra help will be there to guide them through the changes we have made to allow for social distancing.

“We will adopt all government safety advice as a minimum in our stores and have benefited from our experience in the other markets in Europe where we have already opened successfully. As we open, we will continue to look at best practice across the retail sector and amend our measures appropriately.

“I would like to thank all of our colleagues and partners for the commitment, strength and resilience they have shown through these challenging times.”

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