Airports Sold To Foreign Firms

The owner of Heathrow has sold off its three other UK airports in a £1.05 billion deal that means the company previously known as BAA will now operate only its flagship London hub.

Heathow Airport Holdings has sold the sites at Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton to a 50:50 consortium formed by Spain's Ferrovial and Australia's Macquarie.

The company had previously operated seven airports but an inquiry by the Competition Commission ordered it to be broken up.

By the time of the ruling it had already sold Gatwick, later disposing of Edinburgh and announcing the sale of Stansted last year.

The latest sale, whose value includes cash as well as debt assumed by the buyer, is expected to close no later than January 2015.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye 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."

Ferrovial chief executive Inigo Meiras said: "We are committed to improve these facilities and their services looking to a better passenger experience and in order to grant access to further domestic and international destinations."

Heathrow itself is 25% owned by Ferrovial with other stakes controlled by investment vehicles from Qatar, Quebec, Singapore, the US, and China.

Glasgow is Scotland's principal long-haul airport and sees 7.4 million passengers and 80,000 flights a year, with 4,500 working there including 417 airport employees.

Aberdeen sees 3.4 million passengers and 118,000 flights pass through every year, while 2,500 people work at the site including 259 airport employees. It also operates the world's busiest commercial heliport, transporting more than 500,000 passengers in support of the North Sea oil and gas industry.

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