15 OCTOBER 2012
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Ferrovial, the owner of Stansted Airport, has set 23 October as the closing date for bids to buy the Essex operation, which it has to sell due to a Competition Commission ruling in 2009, delayed following various appeals.
Stansted is London’s third airport currently with a 2012 throughput not likely to be much over 17m, considerably down on the 24m of 2007.
Any new owner has some serious problems to overcome but the present passenger terminal building could probably take double its current throughput without any real investment. Likewise, as Gatwick has proved, the single runway is adequate for that sort of number.
The problem with Stansted is that firstly airlines are not attracted by it, virtually all long haul introductions abandoned. Ryanair dominates with getting on for 80% of all the business.
A second runway would need planning permission but politically Boris Johnson is in favour. However nobody knows what the government commission will come up with in 2015. The airport urgently requires a high speed dedicated rail link to London.
Bidders are thought to include Manchester Airport, a Hong Kong investment group, and a joint venture involving Vancouver Airport. No Middle East submission has surfaced, thought by some necessary to attract a Gulf carrier. www.baa.com
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