Rigby Group (owns Coventry airport) having bought Exeter airport also buys a large aviation management company

Sir Peter Rigby’s Patriot Aerospace Group bought the controlling interest in Exeter Airport from Balfour Beatty very recently. They have now concluded another deal buy RCAM (Regional and City Airport Management Ltd) which is a specialist airport management company responsible for the overall operation of Blackpool and City of Derry Airports. RCAM deals with up to 3m passengers a year and also a range of cargo, freight, corporate and general aviation services. Sir Peter has owned Coventry Airport since 2010 and has always made it clear that he intends to resume passenger flights when he can. Patriot Aerospace says it will be possible now to “leverage synergies” between Exeter and Coventry, making a return of passenger flights from Coventry Airport more likely.  Patriot Aerospace also owns British International Helicopters (BIH) which is the UK’s largest British helicopter operating business. Sir Peter wants to capitalise on the opportunity to grow regional airports, due to the alleged airport capacity shortage in the south east.




Rigby Group moves to be major player in aviation sector with second big deal

5.7.2013 (The Business Desk)

Sir Peter Rigby’s Patriot Aerospace Group has moved to support its purchase of a 60% stake in Exeter Airport with its second major aviation acquisition in the space of a week.

The Coventry-based group, which acquired the controlling interest in Exeter Airport from Balfour Beatty in a deal announced on Monday, has now concluded a fresh deal with the construction firm to acquire RCAM (Regional and City Airport Management Ltd) for an undisclosed fee.

RCAM is a specialist airport management company responsible for the overall operation of Blackpool and City of Derry Airports.

Led by John Spooner, a former managing director of Manchester Airport, the business accommodates up to 3m passengers a year and supports a range of cargo, freight, corporate and general aviation services.

The deal sees RCAM take over the management of Patriot Aerospace’s airport assets, which comprise Exeter and Coventry Airports and Cardiff Heliport. The acquisition could also spark fresh hopes of a return to passenger flights from Coventry Airport.

The airport operations sit alongside the group’s flying activities – now trading as British International Helicopters following its acquisition of BIH in May. BIH is now the largest British helicopter operating business with specialist divisions covering offshore and defence, utility, engineering, charter and flight training.

The group is currently integrating both its newly-acquired interest in Exeter Airport and BIH into its overall operations. It said the acquisitions demonstrated the group’s intention to become a leading player both in the regional airport sector and helicopter operations. Today the aviation arm of the business employs more than 450 people.

Sir Peter said: “The Rigby Group has invested in RCAM as we believe regional airports have a significant role to play in the future of the British aerospace sector and there is definite potential for growth in terms of both freight and passenger capacity.

“With major hub airports currently working to near or over capacity and questions of how to meet the demand being debated as part of the Davies Commission, we see a clear opportunity for regional airports to ease the strain, partly through effective management and operation.”

John Spooner said the RCAM business was based on the belief that regional airports are local transport facilities, operated locally for the benefit of local communities.

“Regional airports are vitally important to the economic development of regions, not just in the UK but also overseas. Obviously smaller airports do not have the benefits of scale enjoyed by the larger hub airports: to survive and prosper, smaller regional airports need to cooperate and collaborate and this is exactly what RCAM can do – bring regional airports together to enable them to operate safely, sensitively and increasingly efficiently.

“The passionate belief of the Rigby Group in the importance of the regions to the national economy makes Patriot Aerospace an ideal owner of RCAM.” he said.




Coventry Airport growth plan fuels Midland aviation debate

Passenger flights close to resuming for first time since 2008

July 5, 2013  (The Chamberlain files)



The debate about the future of aviation has naturally focused in the West Midlands on Birmingham Airport’s plan to become a viable alternative to Heathrow and the other London terminals by building a second runway and tripling the number of passengers it handles.

But while Birmingham is honing its expansion proposals for the Davies Commission on increasing airport capacity, a neighbouring minnow operating very much under the radar has quietly signalled its own rather smaller, yet significant, growth plan.

Coventry Airport moved a big step closer to re-starting passenger flights for the first time since 2008 after its owner, Birmingham businessman Sir Peter Rigby, signed a deal to buy a 60% stake in Exeter International Airport from Balfour Beatty.

Sir Peter’s company Patriot Aerospace now owns a controlling interest in Exeter and Coventry airports as well as British International Helicopters, and the clear intention is to share the Exeter and Coventry facilities.

Sir Peter, who also chairs the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said he aimed to boost the local economy by becoming a “leading group in the regional airports sector”.

He has owned Coventry Airport since 2010 and has always made it clear that he intends to resume passenger flights when the time is right. It will be possible now to “leverage synergies” between Exeter and Coventry, a spokesman for Patriot Aerospace explained.

Budget airline Flybe is based at Exeter. The West Country airport also operates Thomson, Thomas Cook and Skybus flights and handles 750,000 passengers a year.

Coventry’s experience in the early 2000s with passenger flights under Thomsonfly caused some controversy locally. The airport fought a bitter battle with Warwick Council planners over proposals to build a new passenger terminal which was eventually resolved with a compromise, but worsening economic conditions saw package deal holiday flights cease permanently five years ago.

Birmingham Airport’s official stance has always been one of friendly rivalry and that it does not regard Coventry as a competitor, although that position would surely change if the smaller airport ever became a significant player in the holiday flights market.

Sir Peter told the Coventry Telegraph: “We believe in the importance of regional airports and of their value to the local and regional communities and of their important contribution and place in the local economies.

“We are intent on developing our aviation business within the Rigby Group and we have made a significant acquisition here and recently with the acquisition of British International Helicopters.

“We now intend to consolidate both of these opportunities with a view to being a leading group in the sectors of regional airports and helicopter operations. Approximately 450 jobs are now sustained by our aerospace activities.”






Comment from an AirportWatch member:
Sir peter Rigby is building a network of these smaller regional airports – no doubt with a view to using private jets and or helicopters for “very important people” like him to avoid crowded roads and trains.  He had an application to Birmingham City council a number of years ago for a helipad at his specialist computer holdings base in Tyseley , in East Birmingham whereby he would use the River Cole as his route in from Birmingham airport.