Thursday, 6 August 2015

London City Airport 'for sale for £2bn' and saw record passenger numbers

London City Airport has been put up for sale for an estimated £2 billion just five months after Boris Johnson blocked ambitious expansion plans.
The US owners of the Docklands airport - popular with City and Canary Wharf executives - are currently hiring financial advisers to help with the disposal.
US investment firm Global Infrastructure Partners bought a 75 per cent stake in City in 2006 when former owner Dermot Desmond sold it for £750 million. The other 25 per cent is held by another US investor, Oaktree Capital

Michael McGhee, director for transport at GIP, told the Financial Times he expected strong interest in the airport. He said: “The market demand for quality airports is very high,” .
Britain’s 15th busiest airport, which was developed by engineering company Mowlem in 1986, has a single 1,500 metre runway and mainly serves business travellers travelling to European destinations such as Amsterdam, Dublin, Madrid and Rome. City is also the base for British Airways “business only” transatlantic service,
It served a record 3.6 million passengers last year, an 8 per cent rise, and is on course to handle 4.1 million this year.
The £200 million expansion plans would have increased its capacity to six million but the Mayor overturned planning consent from Newham council in March claiming it would be too noisy. London City is appealing the decision and expects to hear the outcome next year.
The plans involved a larger passenger terminal, a new taxiway and extra aircraft stands. It would allow City to serve new longer haul destinations in the Middle East, Russia, north Africa and the US east coast.
The sale came as campaigners against Heathrow expansion questioned the independence of the Airports Commission after it emerged that its chairman is a board member of an insurance group which invested in property nearby months before the commission recommended construction of a third runway.
While chairing the commission, Sir Howard Davies sat on the board of Prudential, which embarked on a £300m spending spree on properties around Heathrow just as the commission prepared to deliver its report last month.
The commission’s final report concluded Heathrow was the “clear and unanimous” choice for expansion.
A spokesman for Teddington Action Group said: “It is outrageous that somebody who is meant to be independently advising on whether there is a need for increased airport capacity has ties with a company involved in Heathrow.”
But Mr Davies, a spokesman for the commission and a spokesman for Prudential denied any wrongdoing.