Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen airports ‘may be sold’

After Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial’s recent announcement of a near $3 billion deal to sell its 25% stake in Heathrow, other airports across Europe — including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen — could be up for sale in 2024, according to a Reuters report.

Citing bankers, investors and industry sources, the Reuters report said a rebound in travel and rising interest rates is leading some airport owners and operators to sell up.

Reuters reported that among the largest of the airports that may see a change of ownership as soon as 2024 is Edinburgh, whose US-based owner Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) is working on the sale of its majority stake in a process that may value the airport at over $2.72 billion.

GIP declined to comment.

AGS Airports, which runs Aberdeen, Glasgow, and Southampton airports and is owned by Australia’s Macquarie and Spain’s Ferrovial, may follow suit, Reuters reported.

Ferrovial and Macquarie declined to comment.

“There are green shoots of airports investments coming back to the market as post-Covid passenger demand recovers and also as a result of a sharp increase in underlying cost of debt,” said Andras Kranicz, head of infrastructure finance, EMEA at BNP Paribas.

“This has encouraged infrastructure equity investors away from highly regulated asset classes with relatively low achievable equity returns towards those which are more volatile, representing higher demand risk exposure and hence higher achievable returns.”

Agata Lyznik, spokesperson for trade association the Airports Council International (ACI) World, said: “Following the COVID-19 pandemic, (there has been) a change of perception in the investment community.

“Airports as an asset class are now deemed more risky, given the unprecedented impact the pandemic has wrought on the aviation industry.”

That means for some investors who have owned these assets for many years, now is the right time to sell, Reuters reported, adding that investors like Macquarie and GIP bought their stakes in European airports almost a decade ago and are now reaching the end of their usual investment holding period.