The privately-held business Rigby Group has served notice of its intention to become a “significant player” in the “vital regional airports” market by purchasing Bournemouth Airport from Manchester Airports Group (MAG) for an undisclosed sum. |
Rigby Group is based in Stratford-upon-Avon and has grown to become one of the UK’s largest private companies since its establishment by technology entrepreneur Sir Peter Rigby in 1975. It already owns Norwich, Exeter and Coventry airports, in addition to operating Solent, City of Derry and Blackpool airports.
As reported by The Telegraph, the company’s latest acquisition is part of its plan to develop a network of passenger and cargo airports across the south of England, providing a viable alternative to Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick and Luton.
“An important landmark in our strategy”
Group chairman Sir Peter Rigby commented: “The acquisition is an important landmark in our strategy to create a robust and credible group of regional airport assets and services across the UK.
“Not only does it expand our catchment to include the major regions of southern England, but also focuses operations on a core market poorly serviced by the major aviation players.” The firm’s chief operating officer, Steve Rigby, described Bournemouth Airport as “well-run and robust” but “ripe for growth”.
He added: “We’re here to do business. Growing demand for both UK and international flights in nearby Southampton offers significant scope to increase passenger numbers, while the site’s potential as a regional business hub also represents a clear opportunity for expansion.”
What lies ahead for Rigby Group and Bournemouth Airport?
Rigby Group has interests in air ambulances, property, hotels and technology, and intends to incorporate Bournemouth Airport into the company through its Regional and City Airports (RCA) arm.
The airport received 700,000 passengers last year, and presently operates flights to 22 European destinations. Ryanair and TUI both have bases at the airport, which supports 900 jobs and injects £24 million into the local economy.
Under the RCA banner, Rigby Group has signalled its intention to boost Bournemouth Airport’s passenger and cargo traffic. The RCA group has recently been able to reflect on its best-ever year, with 1.7 million passengers and 189,000 flight movements handled.
Rigby Group’s property management division will be responsible for the day-to-day management of Bournemouth’s adjacent 200-acre business park.
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