Liverpool John Lennon Airport stake up for sale

3.5.2009   (Liverpool Echo)

by Barry Turnbull, Liverpool Echo

LIVERPOOL Airport owner Peel is planning to sell up to a 49% stake in its airport

At the same time, it also aims to splash out £12.5m on revamping security and
shopping facilities.

But the company denies the new developments are dependent on getting an investor

Instead, bosses say they are looking for a new partner to help further develop
the assets of the company, which includes large slices of greenfield land.

The planned revamp of facilities is necessary to exploit retail sales at Liverpool

Currently, many passengers are in a rush to get through security checks and are
by-passing shops.

The idea is to make security an earlier port of call and create bigger and better shopping amenities on the upper floor.

Airport chief Neil Pakey said: "Travellers want to get airside as quick as they
can, and, although our retail sales are very positive, we feel improvements can
be made, especially having looked at the experiences of some other airports.

"The proposed developments at JLA will see a number of improvements for passengers.

"These will include the creation of approximately 1,500 sq m of additional retail
space, several new shop units and a new passenger security search area, with new,
latest generation passenger screening equipment.

"This is all aimed at reducing queuing times during peak periods."

The airport has continued to grow at an explosive rate and reached a record 5.6m
passengers last year.     [ CAA figures show in 2008 terminal passengers were   5,330   – down 2%   on 2007.     CAA – Terminal Passengers 1998 – 2008  ].

Peel Airports also owns and operates two other UK regional airports, Doncaster
Sheffield and Durham Tees Valley.

Speaking on behalf of the airports group, Neil Pakey, deputy chief executive,
said:  "Liverpool is now one of the UK’s major airports and has been less affected
by the current aviation slowdown than most other airports.

"Peel has grown the airport from 0.7m passengers to 5.6m passengers in just over
10 years, and it is well positioned for continued development. However, it is
important to continue investment, as we have done over the past 10 years."

The new facilities are due to be completed in autumn, 2010. This will take the
total investment from Peel into John Lennon Airport to over £150m in 10 years.
Plans to sell a stake in the business were described as part of a group strategy
which also saw Peel hive off a substantial part of the Mersey Docks business.


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