Aéroports de la Côte d'Azur (ACA) has cemented its position as one of Europe's leading business aviation airport owners, following its acquisition late last month of Aéroport du Golfe de Saint-Tropez (AGST) - owner of St Tropez airport.

ACA is also evaluating other possible airport acquisitions throughout mainland Europe, but will not be drawn on specific locations.

The purchase of St Tropez airport brings ACA's airport portfolio to three - all based on the French Riviera of southeast France - including Nice Cote d'Azur and Cannes-Mandelieu. The latter two facilities also serve commercial airlines.

According to German research company WingX Advance, St Tropez airport was the 158th busiest business aviation destination in Europe in 2012, based on its annual movement tally of 2,275.

Cannes came in 13th place last year, recording over 13,000 take-offs and landings, while Nice ranked third - after Paris Le Bourget and Geneva, Switzerland - with over 29,300 business aircraft movements during the 12-month period.

"ACA has a dominant position in the South of France," says Michel Tohane, general aviation business unit manager. "This region is an attractive destination for wealthy individuals and businesspeople alike."

"We are seeing a notable increase in Nice in airliner-sized business aircraft, such as the Airbus ACJ319 and Boeing 747, due to rise in the number of visitors from the BRIC [countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China]," he adds.

In order to free up valuable space on the ramp at Nice, ACA is considering shifting some smaller-cabin aircraft traffic to Cannes and St Tropez, which are unable to take VIP airliners due shorter runways.

Source: Flight International