3i assumes formal ownership of George Best Belfast City Airport

Price not disclosed but analysts believe it could be worth more than £100m

The venture capital company 3i has formally assumed ownership of George Best Belfast City Airport after a multimillion takeover deal cleared all regulatory requirements including approval from the European Commission.

3i acquired the airport as part of a deal, estimated to be worth more than £500 million, that included the acquisition of a portfolio of assets from the EISER Global Infrastructure Fund in the UK, Italy and Spain.

The price tag for Belfast City Airport was not disclosed but industry analysts believe it alone could be worth more than £100 million. It was sold by a previous owner, Ferrovial, for £132.5 million in 2008.

Brian Ambrose, chief executive of Belfast City Airport, which first opened in March 1938, said the arrival of 3i was an "important landmark" for the airport, which he said was enjoying an exciting period of expansion.


"We have a stellar airline portfolio, including blue-chip brands such as KLM, Flyby, British Airways and Aer Lingus, and we are confident of continuing to grow our route network and the profitability of the business in years to come," Mr Ambrose said.

The airport's latest owners touched down on the same day Belfast City Airport launched its latest route to Reykjavik with Icelandair.

The airline will operate flights from Belfast City Airport to Reykjavik up to three times a week.

The new Belfast route is operated by Air Iceland Connect on its 72-seat Bombardier Q400 aircraft in a code-sharing partnership with Icelandair.

The airline said the Belfast route will also enable travellers to make connections at Keflavik International Airport to destinations in the US and Canada through Icelandair’s network.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business