Page last updated at 11:29 GMT, Saturday, 6 September 2008 12:29 UK

City Airport sells for 132.5m

In 2003, ownership of the airport passed to Ferrovial
The airport has been sold for 132.5m

Belfast City Airport has been sold for 132.5m to the ABN AMRO Global Infrastructure Fund.

With the sale, the vendors have more than trebled their money in five years.

In 2003, the Spanish Ferrovial Group, which has its headquarters in Madrid, bought the airport for 35m.

Belfast City Airport began commercial operations in 1983. A new terminal was opened in 2001 and, in 2006, the airport was named after George Best.

This year, the airport is likely to be used by about 2.7m passengers.

The aviation industry may be in recession, but carriers using the airport are doing well.

The biggest carrier, Flybe, is making good profits from its route to Gatwick and other UK destinations, as is British Midland.

BBC NI Consumer Affairs Correspondent Martin Cassidy said: "The big question now is whether the new owner will want to extend the runway for bigger planes or push for extra flights.

"Both are sensitive issues with residents living near the airport."

Airport management have stressed that, with the sale, there will be no impact on the day to day operations of the facility.

Completion of the sale is expected to take place towards the end of September 2008.





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