Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) is “curious” about the potential forced sale of London’s Gatwick and Stansted airports, and an investment in one of the airports should BAA eventually be ordered to sell them off is “certainly on our radar”, says ADAC chief executive Rudy Vercelli.
In an interview at ADAC’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi today, Vercelli said the company aims to become “one of the top three airport owners and operators in the world”, and part of achieving this goal will be investing in projects abroad.
“The split-up of BAA is something interesting that we have on our radar,” says Vercelli. While he declines to disclose any further details, Vercelli says “all options are open”, and that ADAC has “lots of strategic planning to do” to decide on “how best to approach” any future sale of BAA’s London airports.
In a preliminary report issued last month the UK Competition Commission proposed that BAA be forced to sell two of its London airports and one of its Scottish facilities.
The Commission will publish its final report in the first quarter of next year. But ADAC’s international ambitions do not stop at a potential investment in one of BAA’s London airports; it is also interested in projects in Southeast Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
“We definitely want to be recognised as one of the premier airport owners and operators,” says Vercelli. “We will start gradually, building on solid foundations and will not be rushing into things just because it’s the thing to do.
But if an investment makes sense, we will go ahead with it.”ADAC currently runs Abu Dhabi International Airport and nearby Al Ain Airport.
It also recently unveiled plans to invest an initial $55 million into Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen military airfield to create a dedicated business jet airport.