October 3, 2008

Dutch Firm Confirms It Wants to Buy Airport Possible Sell-Off Could Spark GBP700 Mbattle


THE firm that owns Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam has confirmed a "definite interest" in buying Glasgow Airport if it is put up for sale.

Itis the second company, followingManchester Airport Group, to register an interest in Glasgow Airport, which faces being sold off by owner BAA.

A report last month by the Competition Commission said Spanishowned BAA should relinquish control of Glasgow or Edinburgh Airport.

The company's ownership of both, it said, was bad for customers, airlines and passengers.

A bid by the Schiphol Group, a state-owned company in Holland, could scupper a bid by Manchester Airport Group.

It is understood negotiations have taken place between council leaders in Glasgow and Manchester about a possible shared ownership of the Glasgow Airport site.

There are fears Schiphol may try to develop Glasgow Airport as a feeder for the Dutch hub, rather than investing in services in Glasgow.

The Competition Commission, which was highly critical of BAA in its preliminary report, will make a final ruling on the airports issue next year.

When the report was released, Manchester Airport's external affairs director Jonathan Bailey said the prospect of taking over Glasgow was a "great opportunity".

Glasgow, he said, had "huge growth potential" and Mr Bailey promised a Manchester takeover would offer passengers lower fares and fewer queues.

It is understood potential buyers have valued Glasgow Airport at GBP500m-GBP700million, although BAA believes the asset is worth more than GBP1billion.

Other potential buyers for Glasgow Airport include the Peel Group, which owns Clydeport, as well as five regional airports in England.

The Australian investment group Macquarie has also been mentioned.

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

(c) 2008 Evening Times; Glasgow (UK). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.