Southampton Airport has become part of AGS Airports in a move welcomed by Hampshire Chamber.
AGS is an equal partnership between Ferrovial and Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets (MIRA), owning Southampton, Glasgow and Aberdeen Airports. A new chairman of AGS, Sir Peter Mason, has been appointed.
Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) agreed to sell the three airports earlier this year for £1.048 billion. The three gateways will continue to be managed locally to meet the needs of their local communities, with the added benefit of being supported by the joint ownership of Ferrovial and Macquarie.
Stewart Dunn, Hampshire Chamber chief executive, welcomed the acquisition and said: "The new owners are highly experienced in airport investment and management. They are ideally placed to develop Southampton as a major airport for business and tourism.
“While we know it will be a case of continuing the already good, business-as-usual activities in the short term, we call on them to build more connections across Europe in the years ahead. That means more flights, more destinations and improved facilities, including a thorough look at the viability of an extended runway."
Added Dave Lees, managing director, Southampton Airport: “We will still continue to operate independently as an airport under local management. It is very much business as usual as we head into the busy Christmas period. We welcome our new owners as we enter the next exciting phase of this award-winning airport.”
The airport is worth £100 million per year to the local economy, with around 1.7 million passengers using it annually, and is expecting 65,000 people during the festive fortnight, peaking this weekend. It welcomed 140,000 passengers in November and December (an 11.7% rise on last year).