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Travel industry news

14 May 2019

BY James Chapple

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French airport operator takes majority stake in Gatwick

French airport operator Vinci has completed its buyout of a 50.01% stake in Gatwick airport for a reported £2.9 billion.

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French airport operator takes majority stake in Gatwick

Gatwick owner Global Infrastructure Partners will continue to hold and manage the remaining 49.99% stake in the Sussex hub, Britains’s second busiest airport after Heathrow.


Announced last December, the deal – which amounts to £2.9 billion, according to Reuters – adds Gatwick to Vinci’s portfolio, which now boasts 46 airports in 12 countries.


Vinci Airports has pledged to invest in Gatwick beyond the airport’s proposed £1.1 billion capital investment programme through 2023.


This will involve Gatwick’s teams leveraging Vinci’s career development and in-house training regimes, and sharing best practice from the rest of the Vinci network, with Vinci promising “a strong focus on quality of service and programme management”.


Sir David Higgins will remain as Gatwick chairman, Stewart Wingate as its chief executive and Nick Dunn as chief financial officer. Vinci’s Cedric Laurier will join as chief technical officer.


Gatwick has grown passenger numbers from 32 million in December 2009 to more than 46 million in 2019 following more than £2 billion investment over the past decade.


The airport, meanwhile, is consulting on its draft master plan for the next 15 years, which will seek to maximise its existing infrastructure and standby runway after the government decided to pursue expansion at Heathrow airport rather than Gatwick.


A final master plan is due to be published later this year.


Nicolas Notebaert, chief executive of Vinci Concessions and president of Vinci Airports, said: “Applying our joint skills will add significant value to both Vinci Airports and London Gatwick Airport and benefit all our stakeholders, notably airlines and passengers.

 

"Combining our expertise will further improve our operational excellence and sustain our shared vision of putting passenger satisfaction at the heart of everything we do.”


Stewart Wingate, Gatwick chief executive, added: “Today is the start of a new chapter for Gatwick, with new owners and further investment enabling the airport to continue on its successful journey.

 

"The management team and I will remain focused on delivering exceptional service to our passengers and to developing longer-term plans to grow our airport.”


The California Public Employees’ Retirement System will retain a 9.99% stake in Gatwick as part of the 49.99% interest managed by Global Infrastructure Partners.

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