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Regional airport group expands portfolio with Bournemouth acquisition

Posted: 6 December 2017 | | No comments yet

The new owners of Bournemouth Airport, serving a city in South West England, hope regional airports like it will soon be able to offer flyers an alternative to the London hubs.

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COASTAL RETREAT: Bournemouth is the 88th biggest town in the United Kingdom

The airport management division of company with interests ranging from technology to hotels has just snapped up Bournemouth Airport.

Regional & City Airports (RCA), part of the Rigby Group plc, now owns four regional UK airports, after buying the Dorset hub from Manchester Airports Group for an undisclosed sum.

It counts Norwich, Exeter and Coventry airports among its portfolio as well as holding contracts to operate Solent, City of Derry and Blackpool airports.

The group, which only bought its first airport, Coventry, in 2010, hopes that its expansion will offer British flyers a viable alternative to the major London airports.

Group Chairman and Founder Sir Peter Rigby said: “The acquisition of Bournemouth Airport represents an important landmark in our strategy to create a robust and credible group of regional airport assets and services across the UK. Not only does it expand our catchment to include the major regions of South England, but also focuses operations on a core market poorly serviced by the major aviation players.”

RCA Chief Executive Andrew Bell said: “I am delighted to welcome everyone at Bournemouth Airport to our fast-growing team. It is already one of the South’s flagship aviation hubs, and I am very much looking forward to working with the staff and management as we continue to expand its operations and build on that success.”

Day-to-day management of the adjacent 200-acre Aviation Business Park will be handled by Rigby Real Estate – the parent group’s specialist property management division.

Bournemouth Airport currently offers flights to 22 destinations across Europe, with 700,000 passengers using the airport in 2016. A base for Ryanair and TUI, the facility has undergone a £45m investment and supports 900 full time equivalent jobs contributing more than £24 million to the local economy.

The group recently recorded its best ever year in the year to March, handling 1.7 million passengers with 189,000 flight movements connecting directly to over 60 destinations across its operations.

Steve Rigby, Rigby Group COO, commented: “While already a well-run and robust operation, Bournemouth Airport is ripe for growth. Growing demand for both UK and International flights in nearby Southampton offers significant scope to increase passenger numbers, while the site’s potential as a regional business hub also represents a clear opportunity for expansion. We’re here to do business, and have already reached out to key regional stakeholders with a view to driving forward to growth of the airport.

“As part of RCA, the airport will benefit from the economies of scale and sharing of best practice normally only available to larger hub airports – providing job security for existing staff and opening up a range of exciting new opportunities for both the facility itself and the region as a whole.”

Charlie Cornish, Chief Executive of MAG, added: “Bournemouth Airport and its people have been part of our company for a long time.

“RCA has a detailed integration plan in place to ensure a seamless transition of ownership and operations at Bournemouth which will maintain business as usual for passengers and customers.

“We wish the new owners every success and are confident that the airport will continue to flourish as we continue to focus on improving Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports.”

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