BAA to sell airport – good news story

At last BAA has been forced to announce it is to sell one of its Scottish airports, Edinburgh Airport will be sold following the Competition Commission’s order that it must dispose of one of its Scottish hubs.   The airports operator announced today that it had decided to keep Glasgow and sell-off Edinburgh, Edinburgh the largest Scottish airport measured by passenger numbers. It’s good news for Edinburgh residents but not Glasgow.

As you know I have been a critic of BAA for over twenty years, it should never have been privatised as a whole unit and should have been broken up and individual airports sold.  It would have achieved more for the government of the day and it would then not fell into the hands of Ferrovial the Spanish owner which in my opinion has been a disaster for British airport development. BAA said it expects to formally approach the market in the New Year with a view To agreeing a sale by summer 2012.

Chief executive Colin Matthews said: “Edinburgh is a great airport with a great team and a great future and we will be very sorry to see it leave BAA.  “We remain committed to Scotland and we will continue our long-term investment to improve passenger and airline experience at Aberdeen and Glasgow, as well as at Edinburgh until the sale is complete. Choosing which airport to sell has been a difficult decision. Edinburgh Airport has shown itself to be a strong and resilient asset throughout the economic downturn. Passenger numbers at Edinburgh have grown by more than 6% over the past year and in an uncertain market we expect it to be an attractive asset to prospective buyers. Glasgow Airport has great opportunities for future growth and development and we think BAA is well-placed to build on its recent success. Both airports are of national importance and have a bright future.”

For Info Edinburgh handles 9.2m passengers a year and more than 100,000 flights operated by about 40 airlines to more than 120 destinations. Glasgow handles only 6.8m passengers and 70,000 flights a year to 90 destinations but, crucially, it attracts more long-haul business than Edinburgh, making it a more attractive proposition to BAA than Edinburgh. Passenger numbers at Glasgow have grown 5.7% since the start of 2011.   In the featured photograph is Icelandic Air (Who fly from Glasgow to the USA via Iceland),  there has never been incentive for BAA to develop Edinburgh as a long haul airport, so maybe after the sale we will see some route development to the US, Middle East and Far east

Managing director of Edinburgh Airport Jim O’Sullivan said: “Today’s announcement brings the clarification that many had been calling for and although we will be sorry to leave BAA, we do so in the knowledge we’re in an extremely strong and healthy position. Not only has Edinburgh Airport benefited from considerable investment in recent years but we have an excellent team in place which has been the driving force behind our success to date. We will now begin preparing for the sale process, but irrespective of who may own it, the team at Edinburgh Airport will undoubtedly continue to deliver for its passengers, the city and Scotland as a whole.” I think Jim that is diplomatic language to the extreme, but good luck with the break for Freedom.

Edinburgh Airport directly employs 485 staff and supports 7,500 jobs across Scotland. BAA invested £42m in the airport departure lounge and security hall in 2010 to attract more long and short-haul flights.



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