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Airport builders are on cloud nine

FINANCE City Site

THE SOLID financial results which emerged this week from BAA underlined the continuing bright prospects for contractors in the air transport sector.

Thanks to low-cost airlines and growth in domestic and European air travel, passenger numbers at BAA airports rose almost 5 per cent in the nine months to December.

Far from cutting back its capital programme after September 11, the group says it is confident about medium and long-term growth and is continuing to build on a major scale.

BAA lifted its spending on UK airport infrastructure by 17 per cent to £479 million in the nine months as it progressed with extensions to Heathrow Terminals 1 and 3 and preparations for Terminal 5 - a major source of work for Amec and O'Rourke.

Indeed, Amec agreed a 10-year framework agreement last week to provide new infrastructure projects at BAA's seven UK airports which will be worth £700-800 million in total and £80-90 million over the next three years. The firm has also won contracts to provide building service and airfield pavements for Terminal 5.

A further surge in airport-related construction can be expected when the outcome of the Government's consultation on UK runway capacity finally emerges. The growth of Stansted - requiring a £75 million upgrade of the A120 between the airport and Colchester (see p42) - is already creating work for the construction industry.