Gatwick owner gives assurance over sell-off

Gatwick owner gives assurance over sell-off

The owners of Gatwick Airport have indicated it would not look to sell for a quick profit if it is chosen by government as the location for a much-needed new runway in the southeast.

The assurance came as it was revealed the airport’s boss Stewart Wingate is in line for a personal windfall of £5 million if the airport is sold as part of a bonus scheme.

US private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners, the owner, put the bonus scheme in place after it bought the airport in 2009 for £1.5 billion. It now controls a 42% share.

A decision on whether Gatwick will build a second runway, or Heathrow a third, is due at the end of next months after lengthy political delays since the Airports Commission recommended Heathrow.

Quoted in the Sunday Times Wingate said the bonus scheme “meant that as you go about making your decisions in the business….you genuinely are trying to create long-term value.”

He added that Gatwick’s owner, which has spent £40 million promoting its suitability for a new runway, was prepared to give assurances that it would not seek a quick sell off if approval was given.

Heathrow’s top executive are also on a bonus scheme that incentivises the to create the right political climate for approval of a third runway.

The airport it said to have modified plans, including scrapping a proposal to tunnel the M25 under the runway, cutting £3 billion from the original estimated cost of £16.8 billion.

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