Bournemouth Airport.

A COMPANY run by Stratford-upon-Avon-based tycoon Sir Peter Rigby has bought Bournemouth Airport for an undisclosed sum.

It becomes the fourth regional airport to be owned by the Rigby Group’s airport management division, Regional & City Airports (RCA).

Others are Norwich, Exeter, and Coventry airports, while the firm also has contracts to operate Solent (formerly Daedalus Airfield), City of Derry, and Blackpool airports.

Bournemouth Airport – previously owned Manchester Airports Group (MAG) – offers flights to 22 destinations across Europe, with 700,000 passengers using the airport in 2016.

The airport is a base for Ryanair and TUI and has recently undergone a £45million investment. It supports 900 full-time equivalent jobs contributing more than £24million to the local economy.

Sir Peter Rigby.

Sir Peter, Rigby Group founder and chairman, said: “The acquisition of Bournemouth Airport represents an important landmark in our strategy to create a robust and credible group of regional airport assets and services across the UK.

“Not only does it expand our catchment to include the major regions of south England, but also focuses operations on a core market poorly serviced by the major aviation players.”

RAC already employs more than 600 people across the UK and recently recorded its best ever year in the year to March, handling 1.7million passengers with 189,000 flight movements connecting directly to over 60 destinations across its operations.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of MAG, added: “RCA has a detailed integration plan in place to ensure a seamless transition of ownership and operations at Bournemouth which will maintain business as usual for passengers and customers.

“We wish the new owners every success and are confident that the airport will continue to flourish as we continue to focus on improving Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands airports.”