Cardiff Airport’s former CEO Keith Brooks stated that the airport could be “re-energised” under new ownership, following LCC bmibaby’s announcement is plans to drop all Cardiff services after the upcoming summer period (Wales Online, 17-Apr-2011). Abertis currently owns Cardiff Airport, which acquired former Cardiff Airport owner TBI in 2005 for GBP900 million. "The reality is that Abertis has not had any real empathy with Cardiff or Wales and are far more interested in Luton Airport, which is seen as the jewel in the crown," Mr Brooks said. He believes that that with pressure from the Assembly Government, Abertis could look to sell its UK airport assets. The former CEO believes Cardiff still had significant growth potential, in light of strong reported growth at the nearby Bristol International Airport. "If I was running Cardiff I would go to Dublin and look to strike a deal with Michael O’Leary at Ryanair. Even if we didn’t make any money, it would act at a catalyst," Mr Brooks said.
Cardiff Airport can be re-energised: former CEO
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Privatisation of airports, or at the very least their corporatisation into independent business units that behave along business lines, has again become fashionable. This follows a dip in transactions and prices during the period of the global financial downturn from 2008-2012. Money is now easier to obtain and air transport infrastructure is popular with investors as it typically has a long term cycle attached to it, usually quite the opposite of the airlines that use it.
For now at least traffic figures are rising and airport EBITDAs with them, along with the earnings multiples when they are sold. What is more, the activity is across the board - in PPPs, BOTs, trade sales, even IPOs.
Meanwhile, for the airlines, this is the first time for decades that they are not caught up in a fight for survival. And on the other side, many countries are facing low levels of economic growth where infrastructure funding, while vital, is not possible out of the public purse.