Prestwick Airport set to be sold four years after £1 rescue

Ministers are preparing to sell Prestwick Airport, an aviation source has told Scotland on Sunday.

Prestwick Airport could be sold. Picture: John Devlin

A potential buyer for the Ayrshire operation is thought to have been found, four years after the Scottish Government bought it for £1 to avert closure.

It is understood a formal sales procedure will have to be followed and this is expected to start in weeks. Any deal is expected to include repaying Scottish Government loans of nearly £40 million.

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Prestwick was hit by the exit of chief executive Ron Smith and business development director Mike Stewart last month. Former Loganair chief executive Stewart Adams has joined as Smith’s interim replacement. A source said: “The owners are discussing a possible buyer but a process has to be gone through for disposal of assets. I believe there will be something in the next few weeks.”

Prestwick’s passenger total in the year to September was 671,860, up 4 per cent but a fraction of its peak of 2.4 million in 2006. Ryanair, its only passenger airline, has been increasing flights at Glasgow.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The senior management team has had discussions with a number of parties interested in investing in or purchasing the airport.

“The details of these meetings are commercially confidential. It remains the intention of the Scottish Government to return Glasgow Prestwick Airport to the private sector at the appropriate time.”