Gatwick Airport could be in the hands of a new owner this week, as BAA moves closer to closing a deal with an investment fund.
According to the Times, the new owner and operator of the airport will be Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), a joint venture between Credit Suisse, the investment bank, and General Electric, the American industrial and financial-services conglomerate. GIP owns and runs London City airport.
GIP, which owns and runs London City airport, has been in talks with BAA ever since it put Gatwick up for auction ahead of a Competition Commission ruling that would have forced it to sell Gatwick and other airports.
Rival bidders dropped out in May due to difficulties raising the finances. BAA appeared to put the sale on the backburner while it challenged the commission’s verdict.
But talks have continued, and airline industry sources say a deal might be signed before BAA starts its case at the Competition Appeals Tribunal this week.
It is thought the headline price will pay about £1.6 billion, close to the value put on Gatwick by the Civil Aviation Authority.
If a sale is agreed, it would mean the end of BAA’s 40-year-old monopoly of the main London airports — Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.