Government’s plan to sell Edinburgh Airport to Qatar

Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond
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Selling Edinburgh Airport to the rulers of Qatar was top of Alex Salmond’s agenda during a trade mission, according to civil servant papers.

Briefing documents drawn up before the former first minister travelled to the Gulf in 2011 have revealed that promoting the airport was a priority.

The air hub, Scotland’s busiest, was on the market at the time.

Mr Salmond also tried to convince the oil-rich state, which has been criticised for its record on human rights, to invest billions of pounds in green energy projects.

However, he insisted yesterday that, despite the sale of the airport being near the top of a list of priorities included in briefing papers, he did not mention it to his hosts.

The documents say the purpose of the Qatar summit was to “promote collaboration between Scotland and Qatar in the low carbon sector, to highlight investment opportunities within Scotland, to explore opportunities for a direct air service between Scotland and Doha, and to promote the opportunity to purchase Edinburgh Airport”.

Mr Salmond said: “I never even discussed the issue of investing in Edinburgh Airport with the then emir. I knew that there was no shortage of both international and domestic bidders for Edinburgh.

“Indeed, I’d already had meetings with some of the potential investors with a view to securing Scottish participation in their consortia.”