London Stansted’s proprietor has flogged fighting Bournemouth Airport because it attempts to clean the decks of its loss-making assets.
The south coast airport has been sold by operator Manchester Airports Group (MAG) to technician entrepreneur Sir Peter Rigby.
Rigby’s Stratford-based group has hoovered up several the UK’s financial distressed airports lately such as Exeter and Norwich.
While the amount Rigby compensated for Bournemouth was not revealed, City sources indicated it would be more than a nominal amount given the airport’s latest financial statements. Bournemouth published a pre-tax loss of6.3m in its latest financial announcements.
MAG has spent50m on upgrading Bournemouth since purchasing the airport in 2001.
In April 2016, Bournemouth was struck by a double-whammy of all bad news — Flybe withdrew in the airport plus it dropped a profitable Royal Mail cargo contract. The two events caused the airport shouldering an #8.4m write-down of assets as a result.
“The purchase of Bournemouth Airport represents a significant landmark in our strategy to make a strong and credible set of regional airport assets and services across the UK,” said Sir Peter Rigby, who has a net worth estimated by #850m.
“Not only does this enlarge our catchment to include the major areas of South England, but also focuses operations on a core market poorly insulated from the major aviation players.”
Sir Peter’s son Steve added: “While currently a well-run and strong performance, Bournemouth Airport is ripe for expansion. Growing requirement for both UK and International flights in nearby Southampton delivers significant scope to increase passenger numbers, while the website’s potential as a regional business hub also represents a clear opportunity for growth. We’re here to conduct business, and have achieved to key regional stakeholders with a view to driving forward to expansion of this airport.
The deal leaves MAG using three primary commercial airport operations: Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands.