The Vancouver International Airport Authority has bid $3.1-billion to purchase London's Gatwick Airport, according to UK media reports. The bid comes on the heels of Gatwick owner BAA putting the London airport on sale last month, following a ruling from UK Competition Commission authorities.
The Commission has asked the Spanish owned-Grupo Ferrovial, owners of BAA, to divest itself of three of the seven UK airports it owns and operates.
Other potential bidders include Frankfurt Airport operator Fraport, German construction firm Hochtief and German airlines Lufthansa.
According to a report in The Times of London, the bid has been made by YVR Airport Services Ltd (YVRAS), a subsidiary of the Vancouver Airport Authority owned jointly by the airport authority and the infrastructure division of US banking giant Citibank.
YVRAS manages 18 airports around the world, mostly in the Western Hemisphere, including Chile, the Bahamas, Jamaica, as well as smaller airports in Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Kamloops, and Moncton.
It reported $440 million in revenues last year.
Gatwick is the busiest single runway airport in the world, the second largest airport in the UK and the tenth busiest international airport in the world. It is used by around 80 airlines, which operate from it's two terminals.
Gatwick celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2008.
Last month YVRAS, backed by Citibank, won a US $2.52-billion, 99-year-lease to operate Chicago's Midway Airport.
Industry experts say that Gatwick, however, would be a far bigger prize for 35 million passengers pass through the airport's terminals annually. This is double the 17.5 million passengers which went through Vancouver airport last year.
YVRAS officials refused to confirm the bid yesterday.