25 Aug 2005
Infratil has agreed to purchase the assets and business of Kent International Airport (KIA) for GBP17 million from the
Administrators of Planestation PLC. Completion of the purchase is expected to occur by Friday 26 August, upon receipt of final title searches.
KIA is located approximately 110 kilometres east of London near Ramsgate in Kent, England.
Infratil chairman, David Newman said:
"Infratil is pleased to have bought Kent International Airport. While the Airport has, for a short period, been in
administration following the failure of Planestation PLC, we believe that it has strong prospects as a freight airport servicing the south of England. It is also well situated to provide regional airline passenger services to Kent and the eastern side of the London conurbation, with 1.9 million people within a 60 minute drive."
"KIA fits well with our existing European airport, Glasgow Prestwick, and will be managed by Infratil Airports Europe
Chief Executive, Steven Fitzgerald and his management team.
Both airports are set up to service the fastest growing air transport segments, low cost airlines and air freight."
Infratil expects to grow the freight and passenger businesses at KIA to reach an operating (EBITDA) surplus within 3-4 years. In the first three years capital expenditure is expected to be approximately 9 million, with operating losses of 8-10 million.
Steven Fitzgerald said:
"Our acquisition business case recognises that it will take
some time to bring KIA to profitable operation, as there are no existing services. However the quality of the existing assets and the location of the Airport in South East England, close to London, makes us confident that demand for both freight and passenger services is there."
"The first services to be reinstated at KIA will be freight operations. We have already had informal talks with
freight operators who are keen to bring business to KIA, because of the fast service that it can deliver and its proximity to distribution centres and London."
"Recommencement of passenger operations will take somewhat longer as passenger airlines need to make fleet allocation decisions and commence marketing and ticket selling for a period before flights begin. We expect KIA to be a strong outbound market to the popular tourist destinations in Spain, Italy and France, as well as having the potential to
link Kent with key business destinations in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Being only an hour from the M25 London ring road provides longer term potential."
"I have been impressed with the spirit of the management and staff I met during our due diligence process. They clearly believe in the potential of the Airport. The Airport currently has around 70 staff and more employment
will be generated as traffic grows."
Further information about KIA is provided on Infratil's website Kent International Airport FAQS and Kent international Airport and in an analyst presentation.
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