Friday, January 15, 2010

Airport for Sale

According to this story by PK Semler and Charls Rice in The Financial Times, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport may be offered for sale. At a cyber security summit at the National Institute of Standards, Governor Martin O’Malley said “the state is still open to acquisition offers for Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI). The state also would consider the possibility of an IPO…”

This isn’t the first time that a sale of the state owned airport has been discussed but it is the first time I’ve heard of the possibility of a public stock offering.

"Maryland could also be interested in taking its stake in the airport public, with the aim of it being sold to a private company, said O’Malley. This strategy has been used with success in Poland, as it allows for a more accurate public valuation of the stake."

This doesn’t seem to make sense. I believe that the airport actually makes money for the state. Why sell off a good performing asset at a time when the state is looking for new sources of revenue?