Exeter Airport owner acquires Norwich Airport

Rigby Group plc, has completed its third UK regional airport acquisition

Regional & City Airports (RCA), the airports management division of Rigby Group plc, has completed its third UK regional airport acquisition with the purchase of Norwich International Airport – signalling the group’s intent to continue to grow its share in the sector and increase the role of regional airports in the UK.

Marking the fifth M&A deal the group has undertaken in 2014, the addition of Norwich International Airport underlines Rigby Group’s status as one of the largest single owners of regional airports and airport services in the UK. The Group, under the banner of its management company Regional & City Airports (RCA), already owns and operates Coventry and Exeter Airports – which it acquired in 2010 and 2013 respectively.

The company also holds management contracts for both Blackpool International Airport and City of Derry Airport and is actively building its portfolio of owned or managed airport assets across the next five years.

Group Chairman and Founder Sir Peter Rigby said: “Regional airports are vitally important to the economic development of regions, not just in the UK but across the world. To survive and prosper, smaller regional airports need to cooperate and collaborate – enabling them to benefit from the economies of scale and sharing of best practice traditionally enjoyed by larger hub airports.

“I am delighted to welcome everyone at Norwich International Airport to our fast growing team. Over the last decade they have worked hard to establish the site as East Anglia’s flagship aviation hub, and I am very much looking forward to working together as we continue to expand operations and build on that success.”

Already employing more than 650 people and managing over 1000, RCA has built a reputation as an efficient, safe and commercially-capable airport operator. Driving improvements to route development, commercial revenues, operating costs and capital investment in order to deliver a consistently sound commercial return, the company leverages significant buying power and shared expertise to deliver tangible benefits to small airports across the UK.

This is the eighth transaction in the past 12 months – and the fifth in 2014 alone – for the family operated Group, which is focused on six core areas: technology, airports, hotels, real estate, finance and aviation.

Steve Rigby, Rigby Group COO, commented: “In 2013, almost half a million passengers travelled through Norwich International Airport. It is also second only behind Aberdeen in terms of providing a departure point for rig workers in the North Sea, giving it a platform for sustainable growth that closely matches our vision for the future of regional aviation.”

Norwich International Airport CEO Andrew Bell added: “This is a significant and very positive day for the Airport. As a highly respected and stable organisation, Rigby Group’s involvement will enable us to build on the many achievements of recent years, safeguarding the future of the business and providing us with a platform from which to build an even more prosperous future for the Airport itself and the region.”

John Spooner, who heads up Regional & City Airports, commented: “As a highly progressive business supporting a range of aviation initiatives, Norwich International Airport represents an exciting addition to the RCA team. We’re delighted to welcome them to our growing network of regional airports, and look forward to working with the team there as we seek to build on their legacy of success.”