The timing of announcements in politics is always a curious thing, because you expect at least some method behind the madness. So the news that Prestwick Airport will shortly be put up for sale to private investors comes in a climate which seems at best, a really challenging market to find a buyer. Maybe it’s because the Scottish Government, having turned their back on reducing APD, see that there is little chance of making further headway with an airport that’s owes £39m to the public purse, despite the fact that it has reduced its losses to only £7m plus last year.
Maybe it’s to do with climate change, where Prestwick Airport is an embarrassment to the government in its future plans on the subject of reducing carbon emissions – not that Prestwick can be accused of creating a huge amount of gases. Although that would be hypocritical, would it not, since the Scottish Government recently suggested that “cutting airport tax would not be compatible with Scottish climate targets”, and yet Nicola Sturgeon gave her stamp of approval to more expansion at Edinburgh Airport by opening the new terminal only recently.
Or maybe it’s simply to find a way to mitigate a political football that nobody wants to kick or caress. There doesn’t seem to be a buyer for Prestwick on the horizon - and no wonder, as who would invest in a UK airport when we are in a period of the unknown with Brexit not been resolved and all the uncertainties that brings?
So, assuming the Government know more than they are letting on, let’s hope for a sensible outcome. Prestwick might not be flavour of the month, but as I’ve said before, in years to come, we may need the capacity for some form of transport infrastructure which will hopefully breathe life into an airport that still has the longest commercial runway in the UK, and a railway station – an advantage no other airport in Scotland has.