Prestwick Airport

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 27 March 2024.

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Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

3. To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the importance of Prestwick airport as a strategic asset for Ayrshire and Scotland. (S6O-03262)

Photo of Màiri McAllan Màiri McAllan Scottish National Party

Glasgow Prestwick airport is an asset of strategic importance to Ayrshire and Scotland. It directly employs 300 staff and supports a growing cluster of aerospace businesses that have created several thousand skilled jobs in South Ayrshire.

The value that we place on Prestwick airport is clear from the Scottish Government’s decision in 2013 to take the airport into public ownership. Thanks to the hard work of the board, management and employees at the site, the airport is now consistently profitable and can look to its future with confidence.

Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

The cabinet secretary is well aware that it was this Government that saved Prestwick airport and the jobs there, which brought certainty to the wider aerospace industry. All that was despite claims from the Tories that the airport was a failure, that money was being wasted and that the airport should be closed. Will the cabinet secretary give me and the thousands of workers who are associated with this strategic airport an assurance that any possible future sale will ensure that all its current activities are maintained and developed in the years to come?

Photo of Màiri McAllan Màiri McAllan Scottish National Party

Willie Coffey is absolutely right that Prestwick airport is the hub of an innovative aerospace cluster in Ayrshire. It was therefore vital that we intervened to secure its future, along with the thousands of jobs that he was absolutely right refer to.

I stress again that the airport is now consistently profitable. I am sure that colleagues across the chamber will welcome the contribution that the airport brings to the region.

The terms of any sale of Prestwick airport will be a matter for negotiation between relevant parties. I have been clear that any decision to sell must be guided by the best interests of taxpayers, Glasgow Prestwick airport and, of course, the Ayrshire economy.