Cardiff Airport to Be Acquired By Welsh Goverment

TGI Ltd, the owner of Cardiff Airport, has announced that it is selling the facility to the Welsh government.

The Welsh government has already entered into an agreement to buy the airport from TGI. Confirming the announcement, the airport website has reported, ‘Over the last few months, Cardiff Airport has engaged in positive and constructive discussions with the Welsh Government on how best to position Airport for challenges ahead. In the course of those discussions it emerged that a sale of the airport was one possible option.

To explore that option further, a process has been put in place which will allow the Welsh Government to undertake comprehensive due diligence. Depending upon the outcome of that due diligence and other related activities it is our understanding that the Welsh Government may decide to proceed towards a purchase.’

The Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has also announced the agreement, saying, ‘Over the past 12 months, I have repeatedly emphasised the importance to Wales of a dynamic international gateway airport in Cardiff.

During the course of the year we have developed a very constructive and positive relationship with TBI. Together we have been discussing how best to develop the airport to position it for the challenges ahead.

I can today announce that the Welsh Government has agreed with TBI to progress towards the purchase of Cardiff Airport. Such an arrangement would enable us to develop a more coherent approach to our national infrastructure planning, and integrate the airport into our wider economic development strategy.’

The airport currently serves around 1.6 million passengers a year.

The Wales business minister, Edwina Hart, said, ‘The message from business leaders and tourism operators across Wales are clear; strong, international transport links are vital to our prosperity, and key to future economic growth.

Subject to satisfactory due diligence, our investment in Cardiff Airport has the potential to create many exciting possibilities for the Welsh economy – boosting opportunities for international trade, and helping to increase visitor numbers to Wales.’


Etihad Acquires Stake in Aer Lingus

Ireland’s Aer Lingus will be selling part of its equity holdings to Etihad Airways, a UAE-based national airline.

Etihad has acquired a 2.99 percent holding in the Irish airline recently for an undisclosed amount, and intends to work closely with the Irish airline to enter into probable code share agreements, and joint procurements.

Etihad Airways is currently offering around 10 flights a week from Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, to Dublin, in Ireland and has ferried around 750,000 passengers between the two destinations since commencement of the route in July 2007.

Etihad has a premium lounge at Dublin Airport, maintains an engineering maintenance facility in Ireland, and has recently entered into an agreement to renew its sponsorship of the Gaelic Athletic Association, an Ireland-based sports and cultural association.

Aer Lingus said in a statement that Etihad does not intend to acquire more of a stake in the airline company, and will be focusing on reciprocal code-share opportunities, stating, ‘Future discussions may explore additional commercial and cost opportunities to develop a closer working relationship in areas such as joint procurement.’

Etihad, in the statement, said, ‘the purchase reflected its desire to forge a commercial partnership with the Irish national carrier’ and it believes, ‘a possible partnership could produce significant commercial benefits for both airlines.’

Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, is also an investor in Aer Lingus and owns a 30 percent stake in the airline.

Ryanair chief executive officer, Michael O’Leary, said, ‘The future of Aer Lingus can only be decided when or if the Irish government sells its 25 percent stake. If this is sold to Etihad or to a financial investor, then it is inevitable that Aer Lingus will be broken up and some or all of its Heathrow slots lost to Ireland.’