Stansted airport is to be sold off after its owner BAA gave up on its long legal battle today.
The Spanish company, which recently lost a Court of Appeal ruling over the Essex airport, said it would not make a further appeal and accepts it has to sell it. The Competition Commission (CC) ruled that BAA must dispose of Gatwick, Stansted and one of its Scottish airports following an inquiry into the company’s airport ownership.
Gatwick was sold to Global Infrastructure Partnerships (GIP) in December 2009 and GIP also took over Edinburgh Airport last year.But then BAA mounted a series of legal challenges to the CC ruling, with the latest one – against the sale of Stansted – ending in defeat at the High Court in July this year.
After that latest loss, BAA said it would appeal to the Supreme Court but today the Spanish-owned company signalled an end to its fight to hang on to Stansted.
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On loan from the collections of the Tate over in London, Picasso’s Nude Woman in a Red Armchair is now on the wall at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. An airport advertisement trying to get people excited for the new exhibit and to sell some tickets, but apparently the “provocative” display of modern art is not appropriate for an airport—at least according to some passengers.
Initially Edinburgh airport succumbed to the pressure from prude passengers, as they covered up the risqué reproduction. However, eventually they decided that people should be able to handle something like this, and they decided to let the advertisement and art do its thing.
Ironically the controversy has probably brought some attention to the exhibit and the museum, so they’ll get their wish to sell even more tickets.The Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition runs through November 4 and tickets will cost £10.
Air travel can be a stressful activity at the best of times but airlines have made the experience worse by the diverse rules that different companies have on hand luggage . Edinburgh Airport has launched a campaign to clarify the rules on hand luggage after two-fifths of holidaymakers claimed they didn’t know how many bags can be carried onto a flight.
The Scottish airport collected feedback from passengers and discovered 40% were left confused as some airlines operated different policies to others.
More than half (53%) of holidaymakers using the airport prefer to travel with just hand luggage, with fears over losing checked-in baggage underscoring the importance of travel insurance.
The findings have prompted the airport to respond with the launch of its ‘Edinburgh Airport’s newest carrier‘ awareness campaign this summer, which it hopes to clear up any confusion.
Attention has also been directed towards the airport’s free Shop & Collect Service, which offers passengers the chance to buy in one EU airport and collect at their destination.
Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “We’re reiterating the message that the vast majority of airlines allow passengers to take a bag of shopping on board in addition to their cabin baggage.”
Passengers can take a bag of shopping on-board in addition to hand luggage on all airlines with the exception of Ryanair.
The Irish carrier operates a strict one-piece of hand luggage policy. The Edinburgh Airport website has lots of useful information about flying including up-to-date arrival and departure times
Edinburgh Airport is not just Scotland’s busiest airport – it is also officially the best airport in Europe.
Edinburgh Airport was named “Best European airport: 5m – 10m passengers” at the eighth Annual Airports Council International awards in Madrid. The airport, which changed hands this month in a £807.2 million deal, was given the award for its focus on its customer base and the responses to the feedback that they provide.
Edinburgh held off competition from Cologne, Birmingham, Luton, Nice, Marseille and Milan to hold on to the title.
Chief executive Jim O’Sullivan, said: “This is an outstanding achievement. To win the prestigious award for the second consecutive year is impressive enough, but to do so whilst having the challenge of being sold is truly amazing.
“The team at Edinburgh airport is dedicated, focused and deserving of this accolade. We will keep working hard to deliver what our passengers want – great service and a diverse range of routes. That’s what’s at the core of this and last year’s success.”
Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) took ownership of the capital airport on June 1 after buying it from BAA in an arrangement announced in April. The airport is also busy because of the construction work taking place there at the moment. Edinburgh’s new tramline terminates at the airport and visitors to the airport will notice the end of the line being installed just a few yards from the terminal building.
BAA was forced to sell it after the Competition Commission ruled that it must sell either Glasgow or Edinburgh airport.
GIP is an independent infrastructure fund manager. It took over London City in 2006 and then bought Gatwick from BAA for £1.51 billion in 2009.
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Edinburgh Airport has been sold to Global Infrastructure Partnership (GIP) , the owner of Gatwick and London City airports for over £800m. Edinburgh Airport was put on the market by its owner BAA last October, after the Competition Commission ruled that it had to sell either Edinburgh or Glasgow.
The winning price, which is understood to be close to £800m, is considerably more than had been expected.
Three years ago, Spanish-owned BAA sold Gatwick Airport to GIP, under the same regulatory requirement to break up assets that had previously been state-owned.
It is thought that GIP intends to improve the speed at which passengers move through the airport at check-in, security and baggage handling, and to link the Scottish capital with new routes.
Simon Calder, travel editor at The Independent, said: “What they have done is remarkable things.
“They’ve greatly improved the passenger experience so that people are tending to choose the airport ahead of others and secondly they are attracting airlines.”
He added: “It’s now going to get very, very interesting and the beneficiaries will be the Scottish travelling public.”
Its investment pattern is to sell the asset on after about seven years.
The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association welcomed the news and said that GIP had improved the experience for passengers at Gatwick since it took over the airport three years ago and expected the same at Edinburgh.
Edinburgh Airport is introducing electronic security gates (e-gates) that are designed to speed-up the immigration process.
It will be the first installation of e-gates at a Scottish airport. Five e-gates will be installed in the next two weeks; they will be available to UK and EU travellers with an e-Passport.
Details from an electronic chip contained in the e-Passport will be compared with an image of the passenger’s face taken at the e-gate, replacing the traditional manual check by UK Border Agency officials.
The airport handled 9.3 million passengers in 2011 and the new e-gates will help ease congestion at peak times.
Meanwhile, two additional X-ray machines will be installed in the hand-baggage search area in May, increasing the total to 12. A new passenger and hand-baggage security check area was opened as part of a major terminal extension in 2010.
Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport and its sale has sparked interest across the globe . The government decided that it had to be sold by its current owners. There are three bidders at the moment – Global Infrastructure Partners, JP Morgan Asset Management, and a consortium of 3i, M&G Infracapital and the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Offers have to be lodged in April, and a buyer is expected to be selected in the early summer. All bidders will be able to carry out due diligence on the airport before lodging their offers. It is believed that a fourth bidder , the Carlyle Group, the US private equity company, have pulled out of the £600 million bid battle for Edinburgh airport. Carlyle’s exit has surprised many in the industry who considered it a strong candidate, given the line-up of partners it pulled together, including the Edinburgh-based investment bank Noble Grossart, run by Sir Angus Grossart. The company was also believed to have attracted interest in joining a consortium from a number of other Scottish business leaders. But it is also understood that Sir Brian Souter, the founder of transport group Stagecoach, did not have talks with Carlyle, despite speculation that he was involved. He has since declared that he is not taking part at this stage. Prestwick Airport is going to be transferred to a new owner as its current New Zealand-based owner have called it an under-performing asset. Infrastructure investment company Infratil said it will also look for a buyer for Manston Airport in Kent. Prestwick, which is budget airline Ryanair’s Scottish base, has a terminal capacity of three million and is situated in Ayrshire, about 45 minutes from Glasgow. Iain Cochrane, chief executive of Glasgow Prestwick airport, said: “At the Infratil Investor Day today in New Zealand, it was announced that Infratil intends to sell both Glasgow Prestwick and Manston airports. “This decision comes from a re-focusing of Infratil’s investment profile and has been under consideration for some time. It’s consistent with Infratil chief executive Marco Bogoievski’s public comments over recent months. “Prestwick is a great airport with a great team and a great future. I believe this is an excellent opportunity for us to attract new investment into the airport to provide the stimulus for future growth. “Today, it’s business as usual as the busy summer season approaches and we’re totally focused on looking after our customers.”
Edinburgh Airport has shown it can keep up with the digital age by launching its own mobile app, developed to provide passengers with flight tracking, terminal and parking information – making it easier to travel to and through Scotland’s busiest airport. Travellers can get the Edinburgh Airport App free from the Android Market and iTunes App Store. The app, which can also be used over Boingo wifi in the airport, features of the following:
• Flight tracking for both in- and out-bound journeys
• Journey planner to and from the airport via taxi , bus or train
• Integrated Google map with directions to the busy hub for drivers
• Comprehensive terminal map with hotspots for shopping and eating
Gordon Robertson, Head of Communications at Edinburgh Airport, said:
“The creation of the Edinburgh Airport App will help our passengers with their journey even before they set foot in the terminal. We’re always looking for ways we can improve our travellers’ experience and we’re hoping the new Edinburgh Airport App will enhance their time at Edinburgh Airport. Its free use in the terminal thanks to our work with Boingo means it’s an invaluable tool for all passengers.”
Bjorn Thorngren, Director of EMEA for Boingo Wireless, said:
“Travelling can be a bit chaotic, and it’s a stressful experience for many. EDI’s Airport App is a great tool to help users navigate the airport and better coordinate their trip. We’re always looking for ways to help our airport partners maximise their passenger experience; this is a great way we both can add value to travellers.”
There is also an innovative section for car parking. You can take a photo of your spot and store it so you don’t lose your car in the car park. Travellers can also reserve their parking space in advance using geo location and tagging of the exact location of their vehicles.
The app is available for both Android and iPhone and is free to download.
Today’s strike at Edinburgh Airport by public sector staff , including the UK Border Agency , is causing delays and disruption. The airport has said there will be some delays at peak times for international passengers arriving at Edinburgh Airport . Delays will also occur for departing passengers due to disruptions at other airports. The airport has worked closely with UKBA on their contingency plans and formulating its own measures to support passengers as they arrive at Edinburgh.
The impact at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports is expected to be far less severe than in London, where Heathrow’s chief operating officer has warned of 12-hour queues for passport checks at peak times.
London is more vulnerable to delays because it handles a larger volume of long-haul flights carrying non-EU citizens, who have to undergo more stringent passport controls.
Glasgow has one long-haul flight coming in on Wednesday, an Emirates service from Dubai, while Edinburgh has one flight arriving from Orlando via New York. Aberdeen has no long-haul flights.
Flights to and from Scotland are also vulnerable if the delays at passport control cause a backlog on the runway, as domestic UK services are cancelled to clear space for planes from overseas.