Stansted’s biggest customer, Ryanair, would be happy to see it taken over by the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), reports the Manchester Evening News.
MAG, currently owned by Greater Manchester’s ten councils, has agreed to sell 35% of itself to Australian investment group Industry Funds Management, in order to raise the cash to buy Stansted, which is believed to carry a £1bn price tag.
Stansted’s owner, BAA, is being forced to sell the airport by the Competition Commission.
Ryanair is also interested in buying up to 25% of the airport, and the airline’s chief operating officer, Michael Cawley, told the MEN it would be happy to discuss becoming a minority shareholder with any other potential buyer.
Cawley said of MAG: ‘We think they are one of the best airport managers around and would do a very good job at Stansted. A marriage of their management excellence and ourselves as the leading airline there would be a very good marriage.
‘Our number one objective is to grow our presence at Stansted even further and we have got to wait and see how things develop.
‘However, if MAG were to win the auction, we believe we could work with them to bring passenger numbers back up to around 25m, instead of the current level of 18m.
‘They are very serious people who do what they say they are going to do and we have no doubt they would bring that to Stansted if they managed to acquire it. They would be excellent managers of any airport they were involved in.’
Ryanair currently has 41 aircraft based at Stansted and four at Manchester.
Click here to read the MEN report in full.