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Scottish Government to nationalise struggling Prestwick Airport

Prestwick Airport is to be brought into public ownership, the Scottish Government has announced. The airport has been on the market since March 2012 for a private buyer, but none have been found.

The Scottish Government is now working with Scottish Enterprise, South Ayrshire Council and the current owner, Infratil, to manage the acquisition and safeguard 1,400 jobs. 

Subject to completion of due diligence and appropriate legal processes on the terms of sale in a six week period, acquisition will commence, deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced. 

She said: “Prestwick Airport’s importance to the local Ayrshire and wider Scottish economy cannot be overstated – and it is vital that all efforts are made to keep the airport open. 

“Prestwick also has important resilience capabilities that provide alternative options to Glasgow and Edinburgh in the event of severe weather conditions. 

“Today, I am announcing that the Scottish Government has advised the current owners Infratil of our intention to commence a process towards acquisition of Prestwick Airport.” 

Leader of South Ayrshire Council, Cllr Bill McIntosh, welcomed the announcement and said the airport was “hugely important” for both Ayrshire and for Scotland as a whole. 

Marko Bogoievski, chief executive officer at Infratil commented: “Recognising the importance of the airports to their local communities, Infratil’s preference has been to secure a new owner with the capacity to support their future success. 

“We believe that a Scottish Government acquisition of Glasgow Prestwick Airport achieves that objective and will work proactively with the Scottish Government over the next six weeks towards achieving completion of a transaction.” 

And Adrian Gillespie, managing director of operations at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We are committed to working closely with our partners to achieve a sustainable future for both the airport and all it delivers for our economy and our communities.” 

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