Airport takeover brings Exeter expansion plan

Balfour Beatty teams up with London City to bring South West into the fold

Balfour Beatty has bought Exeter and Devon International Airport for US $115 million (£60 million).

London City Airport has teamed up with the contractor as its operational partner for the airport. The partnership will be known as Regional and City Airports (RCA) and, along with Exeter-based airline Flybe, is expected to announce major expansion plans later this year.

Devon County Council will retain a share and a non-executive seat on the board of the airport.

Balfour Beatty chief executive, Ian Tyler, said: “Exeter International Airport is one of the fastest-growing regional airports in the UK and it is anticipated it will handle over a million passengers in 2006/2007.

“Our vision ... is that it should become the airport of choice for the region.�

The expansion plans include expanding Exeter as a major regional and international airport that will serve up to 3.5 million passengers in the South West by 2030 – up from 870,000 in 2006, reported the Exeter Express & Echo.

Other plans include providing better catering and retail facilities for passengers, expanding the airport�s car parking facilities, the potential development of a new terminal, additional aircraft parking stands and taxiways, and improvements to the airport�s access roads.

“This is a great start to the new year for the airport, for RCA and for Flybe. Together, we have a vision for Exeter International Airport, in which it becomes the natural airport of choice for the region,� said RCA director of airport management John Spooner.

RCA fended off competition from five other bidders to win the deal.

This is the second attempt by Devon County Council to sell the airport. In 2005, a deal collapsed when the preferred bidder, South West Airports, pulled out.

This is the latest airport takeover by a construction company. In June, Spain�s Grupo Ferrovial bought BAA Plc.

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