French infrastructure giant takes £2.9bn majority stake in Gatwick Airport

In its latest airport acquisition, the French infrastructure firm Vinci Airports has paid £2.9bn for a £50.01% stake in the UK's second busiest airport.

Gatwick becomes the latest in a long list under its operations with Vinci already accounting for 45 in 12 countries. The majority stake has been purchased from Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) with the remaining 49.99% still to be managed by GIP.

VINCI Airports said that the transaction fits with VINCI Concessions’ long-term investment plans and the transaction is scheduled to complete in the first half of this year.

VINCI Concessions CEO and VINCI Airports president Nicolas Notebaert said: “Creating synergies and sharing best practices being at the core of our values, the whole VINCI Airports network will benefit from Gatwick Airport’s world-class management and operational excellence, which has allowed it to deliver strong and steady growth in a very constrained environment. As Gatwick’s new industrial partner, VINCI Airports will support and encourage growth of traffic, operational efficiency and leverage its international expertise in the development of commercial activities to further improve passenger satisfaction and experience.”

In 2018, Gatwick Airport unveiled a £1.11bn investment plan to “make best use of all its existing infrastructure” as it continues to operate near capacity. The five-year plan is said to support airline growth and improving experience for passengers up to 2023, while bosses will focus on accommodating larger aircraft and rising passenger numbers.

While in the autumn, the airport also announced plans to bring its standby runway into routine use by the mid-2020s. Currently the 2,560m runway runs parallel to the 3,292m main runway and is only used as a taxiway or main runway in emergencies, and opening it up to departing flights could potentially increase capacity by 30%, or more than 80,000 extra flights a year.

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