Talks over Prestwick Airport sale extended as Covid-19 hits aviation sector

Glasgow Prestwick Airport is reliant on loans totalling nearly £40m .Picture: John DevlinGlasgow Prestwick Airport is reliant on loans totalling nearly £40m .Picture: John Devlin
Glasgow Prestwick Airport is reliant on loans totalling nearly £40m .Picture: John Devlin | JPIMedia
Plans to return the heavily indebted Glasgow Prestwick Airport to the private sector have been waylaid by the coronavirus outbreak, with the timeframe for talks with a potential buyer of the troubled hub set to be extended.

Discussions have been ongoing since December with a preferred bidder in an attempt to sell off the Scottish Government-owned asset, which is reliant on public loans worth nearly £40m.

But with the global aviation sector sent into a tailspin as a result of the pandemic, the talks will continue for longer than planned.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: “The aviation industry, globally, is contending with challenges of an unprecedented scale caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Every aspect of the industry has been impacted and, understandably, this includes the sale of Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

“Whilst talks with the preferred bidder are continuing, it has been necessary to extend the time frame for these discussions. Progress continues to be made by both parties.”

Read More
Prestwick Airport ‘waiving’ fees for US military aircraft

The identity of the preferred bidder has not been disclosed, but as revealed by The Scotsman last year, it is believed to be AGS Airports, the owner of Glasgow Airport.

The most recent accounts for TS Prestwick Holdco, the company that operates the airport, show it is running at an annual loss of £3.8m.

The South Ayrshire airport was taken over by the government in November 2013 for the token sum of a £1 in order to protect the thousands of jobs supported by Prestwick

However, the airport has been at the centre of controversy over its growing revenue stream from providing fuel for US military aircraft.

Maurice Golden, the Scottish Conservative economy spokesman, told The Times: “Perhaps if the SNP hadn’t spent years dithering on this matter, the return of Prestwick Airport to private hands could have been concluded long before now. Instead the SNP government has used taxpayers’ money to tide things over without any real effort to get it thriving again.

“So while it’s understandable that no progress is being made at this particular point because of coronavirus, the nationalists only have themselves to blame for letting it get this far.”

A message from the Editor:

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.