At meeting held on 16 January 2006, Devon County Council’s Executive approved the recommendation that the airport should be put back on the market to attract fresh bids.
The recommendation was presented in a report following consultation with the local business community and confirms that the Council is right to sell a majority shareholding in the successful airport and that it would be more appropriate and transparent to re-tender.
Although the County Council had the option to re-open talks with companies previously short-listed in the original sale process, the report says that both the airport’s development and the market has moved considerably since those bids were received 10 months ago.
It is recognised that a complete re-tendering would inevitably take longer and incur more professional costs. But the report says there is realistic expectation that a refreshed sale process would attract healthy competition and a worthy purchaser with the right level of expertise and funds to develop the Airport commensurate with its obvious potential.
Exeter International airport –enjoyed a 36% rise in passenger numbers in 2005 up from 618,201 to 842,461.
The Council is committed to ensuring the continuing success of Exeter International and securing the right kind of private sector investment to achieve that goal.
The report recommends that the County Council should consider retaining a larger holding in the Airport than previously envisaged which would enable the authority to take advantage of any future enhancement in the value. It also recommends that further consideration is given to the best way of marketing the adjoining Skypark holding as a separate asset sale and asks for authorisation to pursue a planning application for Skypark.