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July 4, 2014

Scottish Government allays fears about Prestwick Airport’s future

The Scottish Government has said that the Glasgow Prestwick airport will continue to operate in the aviation market, after the opposition sought to know its future in the absence of commercial services.

By Prasanth Katam

Prestwick

The Scottish Government has said that the Glasgow Prestwick Airport will continue to operate in the aviation market, after the opposition sought to know its future in the absence of commercial services.

The government’s assurances come as Ryanair, the only commercial airline service flying from Prestwick, shifted its operations to Glasgow International Airport.

However, the airline said in a statement: "Despite this switch, Ryanair remains committed to its long-standing base at Prestwick, where the airline has a major maintenance facility and is currently in discussions with Glasgow Prestwick and the government, its new owners, to explore growth opportunities to and from Prestwick."

The government purchased the airport last year for a nominal consideration of £1 from its former owner Infratil. It supports 1,400 local jobs.

"The government must come forward with a full business plan on how they intend to turn things around."

The airport received an investment of £15m, after it was reportedly losing £1m a month last year.

In June, the government announced its intention to invest £10m in the airport towards operating costs and terminal improvements.

Scottish Labour’s transport spokesman Mark Griffin said: "More flights for Glasgow are welcome but the removal of the last remaining Ryanair passenger service to Dublin from Prestwick airport is deeply worrying."

"The government must come forward with a full business plan on how they intend to turn things around."

A spokesperson from the Scottish Government said that Glasgow Prestwick Airport is not dependent on passenger traffic alone.

"There are opportunities to capitalise on its other assets and related businesses, such as freight, maintenance repair and overhaul, fixed-base operations and property," the spokesperson said.

"With the introduction of new aircraft in 2015, there is an opportunity for the team at the airport to make a strong business case for their use on Prestwick routes. We look forward to working with Ryanair, and other airlines, to improve the destinations on offer from Prestwick in the future."


Image: Ryanair was the only commercial airline service flying from Prestwick. Photo: courtesy of Mark Harkin.

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