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AIRPORTS

French construction giant Vinci to buy majority stake in London’s Gatwick airport

France's Vinci Airports on Thursday sealed a deal to acquire a majority share in London's Gatwick airport, Britain's second biggest, for 2.9 billion pounds (3.22 billion euros, $3.67 billion).

French construction giant Vinci to buy majority stake in London's Gatwick airport
Photo: AFP
Vinci said it would hold a 50.01-percent stake in Gatwick, which is Europe's eighth biggest airport with a total passenger traffic of 45.7 million in 2018, by the first half of next year. 
   
The other 49.99 percent will be held by Global Infrastructure Partners, the current owners.
   
Gatwick was forced to close its only runway repeatedly between last Wednesday and Friday due to reports of mystery drone sightings nearby, impacting nearly 140,000 passengers.
   
“The transaction represents a rare opportunity to acquire an airport of such size and quality and fits extremely well with Vinci Concessions' long-term investment horizon,” a company statement said.
   
Gatwick “operates the busiest single runway in the world. In 2017, it hit a world record of 950 flights in a day. The airport constantly innovates in all areas of operations (for example passenger self-baggage drop, aircraft queuing systems, parking products) and reaches very high level of operational efficiency,” the statement said.
 
“The whole Vinci Airports network will benefit from Gatwick Airport's world-class management and operational excellence, which has allowed it to deliver strong and steady growth in a very constrained environment,” Nicolas Notebaert, Vinci Airports chief said.
   
With the latest acquisition, Vinci Airports will control 46 airports in 12 countries with a total traffic of 228 million passengers a year.
 
The French firm recently acquired airports in Brazil, Japan and Serbia.

Member comments

  1. The UK continues to sell of taxpayer funded infrastructure. Thatcher’s ideologies have caused problems in a number of countries. Funny thing is that the US has generally resisted selling of taxpayer funded infrastructure. I think Trump will fund his ideas a hard sell to US voters.

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TRAVEL

Ryanair demands that Air France give up French airport slots in exchange for state aid

Budget airline Ryanair urged on Wednesday that Air France be forced to give up lucrative French airport slots if it receives more state aid.

Ryanair demands that Air France give up French airport slots in exchange for state aid
Could Air France be forced to give up airport slots if it accepts more aid from the French state? Photo: AFP

Paris is in talks with European Union officials on the delicate issue of state aid to the French flagship carrier, which has already received substantial help from the government.

“Should yet another enormous and illegal state aid bailout occur, then effective remedies must be applied to ensure fair competition in the French market and to protect the interests of the French consumer / visitor,” a Ryanair statement said.

The low-cost airline is based in Ireland and regularly underscores the amount of money being allocated to keep struggling rivals in the air.

In exchange for more aid, Air France must be prepared to give up “a substantial number of its take-off and landing slots at key French airports including Paris Charles De Gaulle, Paris Orly and Lyon,” Ryanair argued.

French officials and the European Commission are currently discussing the terms of a further recapitalisation of the Air France-KLM group, which has suffered from the Covid-19 crisis.

EU officials have already indicated that in exchange for their approval, Air France should give up coveted slots at Paris' Orly airport, which is essentially saturated now.

Air France on the other hand has indicated that such a move posed a serious threat because it was counting on Orly operations to help it rebound from the crisis.

French officials want to avoid putting Air France, which was struggling even before the pandemic, at a competitive disadvantage.

Ryanair urged EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager to “stand firm in her discussions with the French government.

“Either Air France gets no state aid or proper remedies should be put in place to ensure a fair and level playing field for all airlines,” it insisted.

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