A dividend of £240m is to be payed out to foreign investors this year. BAA Ltd, which runs Heathrow and Stanstead airports, say that the payout would be set at an inital £60m per quarter. This will be the first windfall annuity to shareholders since 2006.
Ryanair accuses BAA of "overcharging" its passengers in order to supply such a payout, calling for the operator to sell Stanstead on the grounds that traffic at the London airport has seen a major collapse in the last four years, from 24 million to just over 18 million. In 2009 the Competition Commission demanded that BAA offload the London airport. The operator is currently appealing against the ruling.
The dividend plans mean Ferrovial, which holds just under 50 per cent of BAA shares, can expect to receive £120m this year. The remaining £120m will go to the Canadian pension fund CDPQ, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC and the US infrastructure group Alinda Capital Partners.