Auditors in Scotland warned Prestwick Airport in Glasgow needs millions of public money to remain open.

Flights to and from the airport that head for Spain, including Alicante-Elche Airport, could be under threat.

The Scottish Government purchased the airport for £1 in 2013 to help protect 1,400 jobs at the site.

Since, £31 million of taxpayers money has been used to support the airport.

According to Audit Scotland, millions of pounds are needed to sustain the airport, as long as it remains in public hands.

The Scottish Government has been trying to sell the airport, with potential buyers not forthcoming in recent years.

Airport directors do not need to pay back the multi-million pound loan, until March 31, 2024, with auditors debating whether the public spending at the airport is good value for money.

Airport directors said they expect support to continue beyond that date “for the foreseesable future”.

Stephen Boyle, Auditor General, said: “It’s not about getting the money back, it’s about when public money has been invested, that the intended outcomes are clear as to what’s going to be achieved from that.

“These are long term commitments, taking many millions pounds of public expenditure.

“And really, for any investment, whether it’s public sector, or private sector, when you are investing that amount, it really goes back to the business case.”

Graham Simpson, Scottish Conservative Shadow Transport Minister reportedly said: “Financial support was supposed to be a temporary measure to protect jobs, until the SNP Government manages to find a buyer”.

In the year to March 2022 Prestwick Airport made a profit of £1.2m, down from £12.8m the previous year.

The decrease in profits was also in part due to Covid, which lead to flights being grounded and borders closed.


Recent performance of airport is Promising

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said Glasgow Prestwick Airport is operated on a commercial basis and at arm’s length from the Scottish Government.

“The recent performance of the business is promising and welcome, and these accounts show that the airport continues in a positive direction, posting a profit in 2021-22.

“This progress is the result of a focussed board and management team who have worked hard to control costs during the pandemic, grow revenue streams and win new business, and it’s due to the flexible and professional service provided by every member of the Prestwick team,” they said.

Prestwick Airport is mainly used by Ryanair, and is the fifth biggest airport in Scotland, connecting passengers to both the UK and Europe.

The news comes after Wizz Air confirmed all flights would be cancelled from Cardiff Airport, due to high costs, as reported by the Costa Blanca and Costa Calida Leader newspaper in January.