New Prestwick chief pledges to protect airport 'for generations to come'

New Prestwick Airport chief executive Ron Smith pledged to protect the struggling operation 'for generations to come' as his appointment was announced today.

Picture: John Devlin

The former North Sea helicopter firm manager takes over from interim chief Richard Jenner on Monday.

It comes as the Ayrshire airport competes to become the UK’s spaceport to help reverse its declining fortunes that forced ministers to step in to avert its closure.

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Mr Smith said: “Prestwick Airport is a major infrastructure and economic asset for Ayrshire, Scotland and the United Kingdom and I am keen to protect that for generations to come by delivering a profitable and sustainable business.

“It is evident that momentum is picking up and I am keen to come in and build upon that to drive things forward at pace.

“I look forward to working with the team to help the airport fulfil its full potential.”

Mr Miller was previously general operations manager for oil and gas in the western North Sea for operator CHC Helicopter, with his other experience including manufacturing firms

Airport chairman Andrew Miller praised Mr Smith as a “fantastic calibre of individual”.

He said: “In his previous roles, Ron has successfully led organisations through periods of change to meet objectives like securing finance, increasing productivity and profitability, and developing and marketing new product and service offerings.

“All of this experience will be invaluable to Prestwick.”