Prestwick Airport

– in the Scottish Parliament on 23rd September 2021.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Colin Smyth Colin Smyth Labour

Yesterday, the First Minister visited Prestwick airport, where the elephant in the room was the future of the airport itself. The chief executive of Edinburgh Airport has said that Prestwick is “doomed”. More than six months after a preferred bidder was chosen, can the First Minister tell us whether the sale of Prestwick is going ahead? If it is, when will that happen? Will that sale guarantee the existing jobs and the full repayment of the £40 million of loans?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

It was very good to visit Prestwick yesterday, and it was actually quite a good news day—Prestwick airport set out the next details of its spaceport bid. I was visiting Spirit AeroSystems, which has just opened a new innovation centre that is obviously a very important part of the aerospace cluster there. It was a good news day in Prestwick, which is a part of the country that is very close to my heart.

It is the Government’s intention to return the airport to the private sector, and that has always been the case. Obviously, the process of doing that has been impacted by Covid. We will set out further details of that in due course.

Finally, I make a point that I made to Anas Sarwar in relation to Ferguson’s. It was right that we kept Prestwick airport open, and it was right that we invested to protect the jobs and the economic activity there. Those are often the things that Labour calls on us to do in the abstract, but, when it comes to putting our money where our mouth is, metaphorically speaking, Labour is just full of criticism. This Government, again, is the one that, time after time, actually stands up for jobs and industry.