Edinburgh Airport sold to GIP for £816 million

Edinburgh Airport has been sold to Global Infrastructure Partnership (GIP) , the owner of Gatwick and London City airports for over £800m. Edinburgh Airport was put on the market by its owner BAA last October, after the Competition Commission ruled that it had to sell either Edinburgh or Glasgow.

The winning price, which is understood to be close to £800m, is considerably more than had been expected.

Three years ago, Spanish-owned BAA sold Gatwick Airport to GIP, under the same regulatory requirement to break up assets that had previously been state-owned.

It is thought that GIP intends to improve the speed at which passengers move through the airport at check-in, security and baggage handling, and to link the Scottish capital with new routes.

Simon Calder, travel editor at The Independent, said: “What they have done is remarkable things.

“They’ve greatly improved the passenger experience so that people are tending to choose the airport ahead of others and secondly they are attracting airlines.”

He added: “It’s now going to get very, very interesting and the beneficiaries will be the Scottish travelling public.”

Its investment pattern is to sell the asset on after about seven years.

The Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association welcomed the news and said that GIP had improved the experience for passengers at Gatwick since it took over the airport three years ago and expected the same at Edinburgh.

 

Edinburgh Airport introduces new egates

Edinburgh Airport is introducing electronic security gates (e-gates) that are designed to speed-up the immigration process.

It will be the first installation of e-gates at a Scottish airport. Five e-gates will be installed in the next two weeks; they will be available to UK and EU travellers with an e-Passport.

Details from an electronic chip contained in the e-Passport will be compared with an image of the passenger’s face taken at the e-gate, replacing the traditional manual check by UK Border Agency officials.

The airport handled 9.3 million passengers in 2011 and the new e-gates will help ease congestion at peak times.

Meanwhile, two additional X-ray machines will be installed in the hand-baggage search area in May, increasing the total to 12. A new passenger and hand-baggage security check area was opened as part of a major terminal extension in 2010.

Edinburgh Airport sale generates international interest

Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport and its sale has sparked interest across the globe . The government decided that it had to be sold by its current owners. There are three bidders at the moment –  Global Infrastructure Partners, JP Morgan Asset Management, and a consortium of 3i, M&G Infracapital and the Universities Superannuation Scheme. Offers have to be lodged in April, and a buyer is expected to be selected in the early summer. All bidders will be able to carry out due diligence on the airport before lodging their offers. It is believed that a fourth bidder , the Carlyle Group, the US private equity company, have pulled out of the £600 million bid battle for Edinburgh airport. Carlyle’s exit has surprised many in the industry who considered it a strong candidate, given the line-up of partners it pulled together, including the Edinburgh-based investment bank Noble Grossart, run by Sir Angus Grossart. The company was also believed to have attracted interest in joining a consortium from a number of other Scottish business leaders. But it is also understood that Sir Brian Souter, the founder of transport group Stagecoach,  did not have talks with Carlyle, despite speculation that he was involved. He has since declared that he is not taking part at this stage. Prestwick Airport is going to be transferred to a new owner as its current  New Zealand-based owner have called it an under-performing asset. Infrastructure investment company Infratil said it will also look for a buyer for Manston Airport in Kent. Prestwick, which is budget airline Ryanair’s Scottish base, has a terminal capacity of three million and is situated in Ayrshire, about 45 minutes from Glasgow. Iain Cochrane, chief executive of Glasgow Prestwick airport, said: “At the Infratil Investor Day today in New Zealand, it was announced that Infratil intends to sell both Glasgow Prestwick and Manston airports. “This decision comes from a re-focusing of Infratil’s investment profile and has been under consideration for some time. It’s consistent with Infratil chief executive Marco Bogoievski’s public comments over recent months. “Prestwick is a great airport with a great team and a great future. I believe this is an excellent opportunity for us to attract new investment into the airport to provide the stimulus for future growth. “Today, it’s business as usual as the busy summer season approaches and we’re totally focused on looking after our customers.”

Edinburgh Airport app

Edinburgh Airport has shown it can keep up with the digital age by launching its own mobile app, developed to provide passengers with flight tracking, terminal and parking information – making it easier to travel to and through Scotland’s busiest airport. Travellers can get the Edinburgh Airport App free from the Android Market and iTunes App Store. The app, which can also be used over Boingo wifi in the airport, features of the following:

• Flight tracking for both in- and out-bound journeys
• Journey planner to and from the airport via taxi , bus or train
• Integrated Google map with directions to the busy hub for drivers
• Comprehensive terminal map with hotspots for shopping and eating

Gordon Robertson, Head of Communications at Edinburgh Airport, said:
“The creation of the Edinburgh Airport App will help our passengers with their journey even before they set foot in the terminal. We’re always looking for ways we can improve our travellers’ experience and we’re hoping the new Edinburgh Airport App will enhance their time at Edinburgh Airport. Its free use in the terminal thanks to our work with Boingo means it’s an invaluable tool for all passengers.”

Bjorn Thorngren, Director of EMEA for Boingo Wireless, said:
“Travelling can be a bit chaotic, and it’s a stressful experience for many. EDI’s Airport App is a great tool to help users navigate the airport and better coordinate their trip. We’re always looking for ways to help our airport partners maximise their passenger experience; this is a great way we both can add value to travellers.”

There is also an innovative section for car parking. You can take a photo of your spot and store it so you don’t lose your car in the car park. Travellers can also reserve their parking space in advance using geo location and tagging of the exact location of their vehicles.

The app is available for both Android and iPhone and is free to download.

Android: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.baa.edinburgh

iPhone: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/edinburgh-airport-guide/id493183512

Edinburgh Airport strike causes delays and disruption

Today’s strike at Edinburgh Airport by public sector staff , including the UK Border Agency , is causing delays and disruption. The airport has said there will be  some delays at peak times for international passengers arriving at Edinburgh Airport . Delays will also occur for departing passengers due to disruptions at other airports. The airport has worked closely with UKBA on their contingency plans and formulating its own measures to support passengers as they arrive at Edinburgh.

The impact at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports is expected to be far less severe than in London, where Heathrow’s chief operating officer has warned of 12-hour queues for passport checks at peak times.

London is more vulnerable to delays because it handles a larger volume of long-haul flights carrying non-EU citizens, who have to undergo more stringent passport controls.





Glasgow has one long-haul flight coming in on Wednesday, an Emirates service from Dubai, while Edinburgh has one flight arriving from Orlando via New York. Aberdeen has no long-haul flights.

Flights to and from Scotland are also vulnerable if the delays at passport control cause a backlog on the runway, as domestic UK services are cancelled to clear space for planes from overseas.

Special delivery – two pandas for Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Airport will receive a special delivery delivery on Sunday – two pandas bound for Edinburgh Zoo. The pandas will fly on their own plane courtesy of Federal Express. Edinburgh Zoo is expecting a 30% increase in visitors due to their arrival.

The breeding pair, Tian Tian – meaning “sweetie” – and Yang Guang – “sunshine” – will travel from Chengdu Airport in China in special containers .

“We have been looking forward to this moment for five years now, since we first embarked on this epic journey to bring the giant pandas to Scotland,” said Hugh Roberts, chief executive of Edinburgh Zoo.



“The arrival of Tian Tian and Yang Guang is an historic occasion for the zoo, for Scotland, and for the UK as a whole. Our dedicated team at the zoo has worked tirelessly to create a world-class enclosure to house our newest additions, which will offer visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view these extraordinary animals.”

The pandas will be on loan to the zoo for about ten years – during which time it is hoped that the animals, which are notoriously reticent breeders, will produce cubs. These would be the first baby pandas to be born in Scotland. Both pandas have successfully parented before, with Tian Tian giving birth to twins two years ago.

When the pandas arrive on the runway in Scotland, they will be greeted by officials from Edinburgh Zoo, the Scottish Government and officials from the panda project partnership, which includes the China Wildlife Conservation Association (CWCA).

First Minister Alex Salmond will be on a trade mission in China at the time of the pandas’ arrival.

He said: “I will be in China myself on the day they arrive, signing a cultural exchange agreement with the Chinese, and I am sure all Scotland will be delighted to welcome Tian Tian and Yang Guang with the warmest of Scottish receptions awaiting them.

“Having the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo is a considerable honour and will be a huge draw for visitors. It will give a welcome boost to the economy and to tourism.”

The pandas will have a two-week “settling-in” period before going on display at the zoo, which is owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).

The pair, who were born in 2003, will be the first pandas to live in the UK for 17 years, since Britain’s last giant panda, Ming-Ming, was sent back to China in 1994 after a failed breeding experiment with her prospective mate, Bao Bao.

Keeper Alison McLean, who will have responsibility for the pandas during their stay in Edinburgh, said her team had received a lot of support from the Chinese authorities. The pandas are currently at the Ya’an reserve in Chengdu, China.

She said: “The Chinese have been really good, really welcoming and have shared a huge amount of information with us. We’re in contact by e-mail on a regular basis and they’re there to back us up.”

The specially designed enclosure has been subjected to rigorous testing from panda experts from China.
The pandas are expected to eat up to 18,000 kilos of bamboo every year, which will be shipped in from a farm in The Netherlands.

“They wanted to make sure we had everything just right,” said Ms McLean. “They’ve worked with pandas for a huge amount of years, we haven’t. They weren’t here throughout the whole build process, and they just wanted to tweak one or two things.”

Dr Chunlin Zang, secretary-general of the CWCA, added: “From the very start, the CWCA has been working in partnership with the RZSS. With this historic arrival of Tian Tian and Yang Guang, our collaboration has entered a new stage.
“Together, we are looking forward to playing an important role in future giant panda research and conservation.”

Edinburgh Airport strike 30th November 2011

Passengers have been warned about significant delays on Wednesday 30th as immigration and passport staff join a 24-hour strike by up to two million public-sector workers over pension reforms.

Heathrow Airport could be facing gridlock with people forced to wait for up to 12 hours on planes.

Glasgow and Edinburgh airports also predicted problems due to the industrial action, with long-haul flights expected to face the worst delays. Delays may build up during the day for  travellers to Edinburgh



The UK Border Agency (UKBA) declined to speculate on the number of staff expected to turn up, but said the agency was doing all it could to minimise disruption, including asking other civil servants across Government departments to undertake training to operate border controls. Clearly this means a lower standard of service with inexperienced staff unlikely to be able to cope with a high volume of passengers. The strike is likely to enable visitors without proper documentation and visas to enter the country.

Airport sources said the disruption at Scottish airports was expected to be less severe because of the lower volume of long-haul flights.  Edinburgh travel resources are expected to be stretched to the limit as a backlog inevitable builds up during the day.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways said usual rebooking charges would not apply to those who cancelled travel on November 30. A spokeswoman for easyJet also warned of delays, but said it was planning to run a full schedule on Wednesday and had reluctantly concluded the UK Border Agency would be unable to provide a contingency plan to support normal operations.

Delays at immigration would mean passengers would have to be held on arriving aircraft. “This in turn would quickly create gridlock at the airport with no available aircraft parking stands, mass cancellations of departing aircraft and diversions outside the UK for arriving aircraft,BAA added.

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said: “We are currently liaising with UKBA to ascertain what impact the planned strike action for November 30 may have on Glasgow Airport.

“Current indications suggest international arriving passengers can expect delays at passport control. However, this is a moving situation and we will continue to work closely with UKBA and our airline partners to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum and appropriate contingency plans are in place.”

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Airport said it was also waiting for updates from UKBA, which said in response: “We have full contingency plans in place – including asking civil servants across Government to seek the proper training to allow them to operate border controls effectively. We will aim to keep disruption at a minimum, but our priority remains the security of the border and inevitably there will be some queues for all travellers during the strike.”

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said disruption at border controls was unavoidable, adding: “The responsibility for disruption caused to the public and the economic damage that follows from that and the jobs that will be lost because of this strike lies with the union leaders who balloted while discussions were still going on and those union leaders who, on the basis of very low turnouts in those ballots, called strikes.”

Unions have criticised the agency after it emerged volunteers are being sought from across the Civil Service to cover for striking immigration staff. Many people are questioning whether the normal immigration controls will break down , potentially allowing visitors into the UK who would normally be turned away on security grounds. The strike might create a huge opportunity for terrorists to enter the country undetected.

Gatwick Airport’s chief operating officer Scott Stanley warned the action was likely to affect arriving flights across the UK, adding: “We would warn passengers to be prepared for the potential for significant disruption at the border zones … airport staff cannot man desks at the border zone, but we will provide all necessary assistance to the Border Agency.”

Edinburgh Airport Guide

Edinburgh Airport  is the busiest airport in Scotland

Most business and private travellers need a transfer to their final destination . Airport taxis Edinburgh offers a professional , reliable service.  Freephone 0800-0029165 for more information and bookings or contact us online . Bookings normally require 24 hours notice but please enquire for late bookings.

Services include –

  •  Airport transfers Glasgow
  • Airport transfers Perth
  • Airport transfers Linlithgow 
  • Airport transfers Stirling
  • Airport transfers St Andrews
  • Airport transfers Falkirk 

Business customers can book up to 3 months in advance and prepay by credit card if required. A credit card receipt will be provided to the customer when he picks up his taxi or it can be sent by post in advance. Passengers are picked up at the pre-booked taxis pick-up point on the right hand side of the multi-storey car park outside the terminal.
The company transfers customers throughout Scotland with a 24 hour service. For more information and bookings phone 07576-127097 24 hours.

Edinburgh travel tips

 

 

Edinburgh Airport flight guide

Edinburgh Castle

 

 

Edinburgh Airport could be sold for half a billion pounds

Edinburgh Airport is to go on sale for upwards of £500m after the Competition Commission forced it to give up one of its Scottish hubs.
The operator BAA ,who run six UK airports, including Heathrow and Stansted, have decided to sell Edinburgh because it is valued at substantially more than Glasgow. The airport has continued to grow in visitor numbers despite the recession. It has added a number of new routes this year. There are a number of potential buyers for the airport

John Strickland, an aviation analyst at JLS Consulting, said: “Edinburgh Airport is performing much better than Glasgow, so it will be easier to sell in a difficult market. Edinburgh is more appealing because it has more high-paying business customers.”

Edinburgh was called “the jewel in the crown in Scotland,” by Douglas McNeill, an analyst at Charles Stanley, who said the airport could potential attract interest from a range of bidders.

These include Global Infrastructure Partners, a fund set up by General Electric and Credit Suisse, which bought Gatwick from BAA in 2009 in the first of a series of disposals ordered by the Competition Commission.

Manchester Airport, which bid unsuccessfully for Gatwick; Borealis Infrastructure, part of the consortium running the High Speed 1 rail link to the Channel Tunnel;, and Australia’s Macquarie are among the other potential bidders, Mr McNeill said.

Edinburgh Airport is to be sold by BAA

Edinburgh Airport is to be sold by operator BAA after it was told by competition regulators to sell either Glasgow or Edinburgh Airport . Edinburgh is now the busiest airport in Scotland. BAA has tried delaying tactics for 2 years.
BAA is now beginning preparations for a sale and it will probably approach the market in the New Year in order to agree a sale by Summer 2012. BAA chief executive, Colin Matthews, said they would be “very sorry to see it leave BAA”. The airport  had annoyed customers by starting to charge for dropping off and picking up. MSPs have also become aware of the issue with the possibility of a legal challenge to the charges.

BAA will hold on to Aberdeen Airport and Glasgow Airport.
It has also been told to sell London Stansted Airport.

Mr Matthews said: “Edinburgh is a great airport with a great team and a great future and we will be very sorry to see it leave BAA. We remain committed to Scotland and we will continue our long-term investment to improve passenger and airline experience at Aberdeen and Glasgow, as well as at Edinburgh until the sale is complete.Choosing which airport to sell has been a difficult decision.

Edinburgh Airport has shown itself to be a strong and resilient asset throughout the economic downturn.
“Passenger numbers at Edinburgh have grown by more than 6% over the past year and in an uncertain market we expect it to be an attractive asset to prospective buyers.

“Glasgow Airport has great opportunities for future growth and development and we think BAA is well-placed to build on its recent success. Both airports are of national importance and have a bright future.”