The Scottish Government has announced its decision to sell Glasgow Prestwick Airport to the private sector, six years after buying the airport for just £1.
The purchase in 2013 was made to safeguard jobs connected to the airport, and also to protect what was seen as a strategic asset.
“Since the Scottish Government bought Glasgow Prestwick Airport in 2013, we have been clear that it is our intention to return the business to the private sector when the time is right,” said Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson.
“The senior management team at the airport has continued to engage with potential buyers and investors to discuss proposals for developing the business under new ownership.”
An advertisement in the Official Journal of the European Union will be placed to invite expression of interest in the business, with The Times reporting that the new owner of the business may be able to develop the land for housing or transform the site for industrial use.
“Good progress continues to be made by the airport to increase revenue, deliver operating efficiencies and pursue exciting opportunities for the future, including Spaceport. In light of that progress, the airport will shortly place an advert in the Official Journal of the European Union inviting expressions of interest. Any proposals submitted as a result of the advert would be considered carefully before any decision was taken to divest our shareholding in the airport or any part of the business,” said Matheson.
Prestwick Airport does operate commercial passenger flights with Ryanair but receives the majority of its income from cargo and military operations.
“Prestwick has all the foundations for success – the longest commercial runway and parallel taxiway in Scotland, a reputation of being Britain’s only fog-free airport, its own dedicated railway station, and a thriving aerospace campus,” said Ayr MSP, John Scott.
“What it now needs is an owner prepared to put in the investment to take the airport forward as the major economic asset it undoubtedly is.”