Rigby Group’s developing aviation division has acquired UK regional airport Norwich International.
Family-operated Rigby Group already owns and operates two other UK airports – Coventry and Exeter – under the banner of its management arm Regional & City Airports.
It also manages Blackpool International and City of Derry airports, and has a stated aim of “actively building its portfolio of owned or managed airport assets across the next five years”.
Group chairman and chief executive Peter Rigby argues “smaller regional airports need to co-operate and collaborate, enabling them to benefit from the economies of scale and sharing of best practice traditionally enjoyed by larger hub airports”. The group intends to bring “significant buying power and shared expertise” to bear to deliver “tangible benefits to small airports across the UK”.
Prior to the acquisition, Omniport held 80.1% of shares in Norwich airport, with the rest split between Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council.
KLM flies four times per day from the regional airport to Amsterdam Schiphol – a 30min flight. Additionally, Norwich is “the busiest UK heliport serving the North Sea oil and gas industry after Aberdeen”, says Rigby Group, which put the facility’s 2013 passenger numbers at half a million.
Norwich also has flights to Aberdeen and other domestic locations Edinburgh, Guernsey, Jersey and Manchester. Seasonal flights connect the East Anglian airport to the the Balearic and Canary Islands, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Malta, Tunisia and Turkey.
UK-based Rigby Group has operations beyond aviation, in finance, hotels, real estate and technology.
Norwich airport chief executive Andre Bell credits the deal with “safeguarding the future of the business and providing us with a platform from which to build an even more prosperous future”.