A majority stake in Gatwick Airport has been sold to French operator Vinci Airports in a £2.9 billion deal.
Confirmation of completion of the sale, first announced last December, was made today.
The French firm has bought 50.01 per cent of the airport - the UK’s second busiest - while the other 49.99 per cent is being retained by current Gatwick owners Global Infrastructure Partners.
A Gatwick spokesman said that “the new partnership promises continued investment to put passengers at the heart of Gatwick’s future plans.”
He said Vinci Airports, the world’s leading private airport operator, would bring “a strong focus on quality of service” and that Gatwick’s plans remained for £1.1 billion worth of passenger improvements by 2023.
Gatwick - which employs around 85,000 people - has grown passenger numbers from 32 million to more than 46 million over the past 10 years, operating flights to more than 228 destinations in 74 countries.
In a draft masterplan revealed last October, Gatwick bosses set out proposals for growth including the routine use of the airport’s current stand-by runway as a second runway, along with retention of land to the south of the airport as a possible future third runway. A final masterplan is due to be published later this year.
Meanwhile, confirming the sale today, Vinci Airports president Nicolas Notebaert, said: “Applying our joint skills will add significant value to both Vinci Airports and London Gatwick Airport and benefit all our stakeholders, notably airlines and passengers.”
Gatwick chairman Sir David Higgins said the deal with Vinci Airports was a “strong vote of confidence in Gatwick and the UK.”
And Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said the management team would “remain focused on delivering exceptional service to our passengers and to developing longer-term plans to grow our airport.”
Global Infrastructure Partners spokesman Michael McGhee said Vinci’s “global airport expertise, coupled with GIP’s intimate knowledge of Gatwick and the UK market, offer a unique and complementary world-class airport capability to carry on delivering exceptional performance.”
Gatwick flies to more destinations than any other UK airport. Recent route launches include Shanghai, Rio De Janeiro and San Francisco.