Rumors of airport sell off plague BAA

Hotel News - 10/04/2008

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In addition to selling off several of its properties to an airport hotel group, Ferrovial, the owner of the British Airports Authority (BAA), is rumored to be in discussions to sell off George Best Belfast City Airport.

Two years ago, the Spanish company Ferrovial purchased BAA for £10.3 billion. In addition to gaining control of operations at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and several Scottish Airports, the company is also believed to have taken on debt estimated to be more than €30 billion.

An Irish news publication has reported that as many as eight groups have expressed an interest in purchasing Belfast City Airport. The report also claims that Ferrovial is trying to get between £100 million and £150 million for the sale although the group has denied any desire to rid itself of the airport.

In order to deal with mounting debts, however, the airport group has been forced in recent years to sell several of its holdings including airports in Sydney and Budapest as well as Bristol Airport.

At the end of March, BAA sold 33 commercial properties to the airport hotel group Arora for £265 million. In 2006, nine airport hotels were also sold to Arora for £300 million.

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