Government talks

New bidder emerges for Prestwick Airport

Airport was rescued by government

A new preferred bidder for Prestwick Airport is in talks with the Scottish Government, Transport Secretary Michael Matheson has revealed.

His announcement comes five months after a proposed sale to Glasgow Airport owner AGS Airports fell through.

The South Ayrshire facility was put up for sale in 2019 by the government which acquired it for a nominal £1 to head off closure by its New Zealand owners Infratil and hundreds of job losses.

Mr Matheson said: “Since the Scottish Government bought Glasgow Prestwick Airport (GPA) in 2013, we have been clear that it is our intention to return the business to the private sector when the time is right.

“In November, a notice was placed in the Official Journal of the European Union inviting expressions of interest.

“That attracted credible interests and since then GPA and its professional advisers have carried out a detailed evaluation of the competing bids.

“I am pleased to report significant progress has been made and I have agreed the selection of a preferred bidder.

“This allows the process to move to the next stage and potentially an early divestment of our shareholding.

“To protect the integrity of the process, we will not reveal the identity of the preferred bidder at this stage.”

Scottish Labour Transport spokesman Colin Smyth said: “It is vital that any deal to sell Prestwick Airport must include a clear commitment from the buyer to retain and grow jobs at the airport, which are vital to the economy of Ayrshire.  

“Any deal should also have a clear plan showing how the taxpayer will get back the tens of millions of pounds loaned to the airport from the public purse.  

“We must not allow a cut-price sale for the sake of the SNP Government washing its hands of the airport unless it gives the taxpayer value for money.” 

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