Manchester Airport Group (MAG) has sold its 87.2 per cent stake in Humberside airport to the Eastern Group, owners of the regional carrier Eastern Airways.
Eastern has its head offices at the North Lincolnshire airport, and its airline division currently offers flights from Humberside to Aberdeen, and onwards to Stornoway, Wick and Stavanger.
KLM also operates flight from the airport to Amsterdam, and a number of carriers offer seasonal services, including Flybe to Jersey, Pegasus Airlines to Dalaman, and Thomas Cook to Palma.
MAG had conducted a review of its shareholding in the airport back in April 2008, but until now retained its stake due to "a combination of positive business developments and a worsening economic climate". In a statement MAG’s CEO Charlie Cornish said:
“MAG has believed for some time that the best long-term operational model for Humberside Airport was with a new owner that could focus on taking the business forward into the next phase of its development.
“The Eastern Group specialises in aviation related activities and we are delighted that our former colleagues at the airport will now have a new owner who can concentrate on developing the business.”
Cllr Liz Redfern, leader of North Lincolnshire Council (which will retain its minority stake in the airport), said that the sale was “vital in helping secure a viable future for Humberside Airport”.
“There are a number of unique opportunities to deliver jobs and growth and support, and underpin further investment in the area,” said Redfern. “The airport has a fantastic business park with huge potential. Its location is perfect with easy access to the ports and South Humber Gateway – vital to the future success of our region.”
And Bryan Huxford, Chairman of Eastern Group, said that “The airport has potential for growth, and under the present airport management team, supported by Eastern Group, will develop in accordance with the business plan already in place”.
Report by Mark Caswell