Facing questions from North East MSP Mike Rumbles in the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee this morning, The Scottish Government’s Transport Secretary admitted that the US Military, not RyanAir, provides Prestwick Airport’s single largest income stream. It is expected that the news will be a major concern for potential buyers for the business.
The information provided by the Cabinet Secretary this morning contradicts evidence provided to the committee by airport bosses earlier in the year, that RyanAir is the airports largest customer.
The Scottish Government bought Prestwick Airport for just £1 in 2013 and it has since provided £40 million worth of subsidies to keep the business afloat. This summer the Scottish Government announced that it intendeds to sell the airport as a viable business, despite the airport still not making a profit.
Mr Rumbles said: “Being beholden to the US Military makes the airport even less viable to prospective buyers and confirms that the only commercial operator using the airport, Ryan Air is not the airport’s largest single income source.
“Despite £40 million of Scottish Government support since 2013, Prestwick Airport is still failing to become a viable business. Along with the airports potentially controversial dependence on the US Military, as its largest customer, there will be serious concerns for any company looking to purchase the business.
“The Scottish Government has failed to encourage commercial operators to fly from Prestwick and now it needs come clean about whether the airport is really a feasible business.”