Airport bidders could push up passenger costs
1:00PM Wednesday June 20, 2007


Would a change of ownership mean passengers face higher charges?

Airlines are warning the 12 million passengers passing through Auckland International Airport every year should be very concerned about the bid by the Canadian government's pension fund, for a slice of the company.

The Canadian mega-fund has global investments of $144 billion and Auckland Airport is aware it has made approaches to certain shareholders to buy their AIAL shares for $3.10 a share ahead of a possible takeover bid. The fund is not the only company believed to be interested in the airport company.

Stewart Milne, from the board of Airline Representatives of New Zealand, said Auckland is already among the most expensive airports in the world for airlines to land at and has been rated the second most profitable anywhere.

He said it is no surprise that equity firms are lining up for a piece of the action.

Mr Milne said if a new shareholder paid a significant premium for a holding in the company, it would want to see returns, which would come through charging travellers and the export sector more to use the airport.

- NEWSTALK ZB

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