Prestwick Airport cuts losses but still no sight of a sale

Sole passenger airline Ryanair has cut Prestwick flights. Picture: Getty
Sole passenger airline Ryanair has cut Prestwick flights. Picture: Getty
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For-sale Prestwick Airport has halved its losses after cargo and US military aircraft refuelling offset a reduction in passenger flights.

Total losses were cut from £7.6 million to £3.8m in the year to March, the South Ayrshire airport’s annual accounts showed. Revenue increased by one third from £18m to nearly £25m, but it owes ministers £40m in loans.

The improvement comes as officials at the Scottish Government-owned complex continue negotiations with undisclosed prospective buyers, more than two months after a sale was due to be completed.

Chief executive Stewart Adams said: “The turnaround of the business is continuing apace. The long-term strategic goal of developing all our potential revenue opportunities whilst strictly controlling our cost base is producing positive results.”

The airport expects cargo to continue to grow, while fuel sales increased by 79 per cent.

The Scottish Government insisted “good progress is being made with the sale process”. Transport secretary Michael Matheson had said a deal could fall through.

A spokesperson said: “These accounts show the financial performance of the business continues to improve.

“Significant progress has been made since we bought the business in 2013 and it remains our intention to return it to the private sector.”
But Scottish Conservatives transport spokesman Jamie Greene said: “Prestwick is at risk of being added to the growing list of failed SNP nationalisation projects that continue to lose the Scottish taxpayer money every day.”

Scottish Labour counterpart Colin Smyth said: “The extent to which this growth will stall or even go backwards will depend on the investigation by the US House oversight committee into the US defence department’s spending at Prestwick and Donald Trump’s nearby Turnberry resort.

“It remains a precarious position for the company which still relies on Government loans.”