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New owners promise improved Gatwick

An improved airport experience has been promised by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the new owners of Gatwick airport.

GIP, who already own London City airport, yesterday announced their intention to buy the busiest single runway airport in the world for £1.51 billion from BAA.

Michael McGhee, the GIP partner heading up the purchase, said: “We will upgrade and modernise Gatwick airport to transform the experience for both business and leisure passengers. We plan to work closely with the airlines to improve performance, as we have done successfully at London City airport.”

Travel industry bosses have been reacting to the sale, after BAA was ordered by the Competition Commission to sell the London airport as well as Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports. Matthew Paxton, commercial director at, leading travel add-ons provider, said: "We have always had a great relationship with Gatwick airport under the ownership of BAA, generating over £40m worth of revenue over the last three years, and look forward to continuing in successful partnership with the new owners."

Mark Tanzer, ABTA's chief executive, said: “We welcome this announcement by BAA, but any new owner for Gatwick must be subject to proper ongoing regulation to ensure that they provide the level of investment and performance that a modern international airport requires. Lack of capacity at Gatwick is bad for customers, bad for the industry and bad for the environment”.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary welcomed the news yesterday: “It is vital for the future of Britain’s air transport and tourism industries that the high cost, inefficient BAA monopoly be broken up as recommended by the Competition Commission report..."

Whilst many airlines welcome the change of ownership, conservation groups and union leaders have voiced concerns. Gatwick is the busiest single runway airport in the world, with over 32 million passengers using it every year.

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Written by: Maxine Clarke, October 22, 2009