UK airports sold in 1bn deal

Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports have been sold by Heathrow Airport Holdings.

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By :  ,  Financial Analyst

Three UK airports have been sold off in a deal worth £1 billion.

Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports have been purchased from Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) by a consortium formed by Spanish firm Ferrovial and Australia's Macquarie. The deal, expected to be completed in January 2015, increases Ferrovial's influence in UK aviation as it currently owns a 25 per cent stake in HAH.

Officials stated that while Ferrovial and Macquarie will be providing support, the airports will still be managed by local staff. The deal signifies a further a breakup of the BAA, now rebranded as HAH, empire.

The Competition Commission told the British Airports Authority that it needed to sell a number of its airports. This led to the sale of Gatwick Airport for £1.5 billion five years ago and it was told that either Edinburgh or Glasgow also needed to be sold. The company has now sold its Scottish airports along with Stansted, leaving just Heathrow Airport as its hub site.

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow chief executive, said: "This sale enables us to focus on improving Heathrow for passengers and winning support for Heathrow expansion.

"Heathrow is the UK's only hub airport, connecting the whole of the UK to the world and bringing economic benefits locally and nationally."

Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton are the eighth, 14th and 18th busiest airports in the UK providing key links across Europe. Aberdeen is a regularly used airport for passengers travelling to Scandinavia and the Scottish islands while Glasgow is the second busiest facility in Scotland, after Edinburgh.

Alongside flights to European destinations, Glasgow operates services to Newark, New York, and seasonal routes to Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Orlando as well as a number of destinations in the Caribbean.

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, described the purchase by Macquarie and Ferrovial as a "landmark day" and said that the move puts the airport in an "extremely strong position".

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