It is an irrelevance that Bridgepoint are an investment company. It is just a label which refers to the fact they have raised the money to buy and develop the airport directly from other investors. If another company had come along and raised the money through debt markets, equity markets or even from their own reserves, the same question would be asked
How quickly is the investment going to pay back and how much is the investment going to grow by.
....the basic principle of any investment decision.
The airport management team, who are employed by Bridgepoint to run the airport on a day to day basis are implementing a strategy to attract airlines and routes to the airport by offering competitve landing and handling fees. This is necessary because there is an over supply of airport capacity in the North of England and the number of suitable airlines is reducing because of closure and consolidation - therefore the airlines are in the dominant position.
The natural conclusion to this is that highly expensive capital investment programmes in terminal improvements etc at the same time as airlines paying less to use the airport is not a viable strategy unless alternative income streams are available. In otherwords, if you want growth in the number of airlines and routes and you also want improvements in facilities, then the passengers using the airport will have to pay for this. So, in the last few years we have seen the airport develop new income streams e.g
- charges for baggage trolleys
- premier lounge
- fast track
- tendering for a new taxi provider
- investment in the website and marketing to develop car park revenues
- terminal front car park fees for drop off / pick up
To be fair to the airport, none are mandatory and all are avoidable and therefore customers have a choice.
That said, they have handled the drop off / pick up thing badly from a PR
perspective which is unusal given some of key players are usually very good at this. I would have thought they would have been ready to have something to say about the plan for terminal improvements, record passenger numbers, job creation through the Ryanair base and the amount already invested in the airport, but for whatever reason they haven't.
At the end of the day, airlines and airports are not free to use. Costs have to be covered and the costs have to be covered by people who buy airline tickets and use airports.
It's no different at all to the fact that the costs of building a supermarket and stocking it full of beans and other stuff are paid for by people who shop in Tescos and have to pay more for cans of beans that it costs Tesco to buy the beans from Heinz.