Virgin Atlantic and easyJet are planning to make a joint £2.5bn bid for Gatwick airport after it was put up for sale by owner BAA. The auction of the airport is expected to commence before the end of the year.
It is understood that both the airline operators are negotiating with their financial advisors to form a consortium. Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC are handling the sale of Gatwick and could begin the auction before Christmas.
In September, airports operator BAA put UK’s second largest airport Gatwick up for sale following an interim report issued by the Competition Commission over BAA’s market dominance.
The Commission said that BAA must sell three of its seven UK airports, including two from London’s Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow in Scotland.
Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA has since begun the process to sell Gatwick airport but vowed to fight to retain the rest of its portfolio.
Virgin Atlantic expressed its interest to bid for Gatwick immediately after the Commission’s ruling. The other companies such as Ryanair, Aeroports de Paris, Australia’s Macquarie Airports and Frankfurt’s Fraport AG had also expressed interested to buy Gatwick.