The Scottish government is looking to sell Glasgow Prestwick airport, less than six years after the business was taken into public ownership.
The airport was taken into public ownership in November 2013, when the Scottish government paid just £1 for the business after it made £2m annual losses for its former owners Infratil.
The move was designed to safeguard jobs directly and indirectly linked to the airport, as well as protecting a strategic asset. More recently though, accounts filed with Companies House show the holding company running the airport delivered a £7.6m loss in the year up to March 2018.
The airport has also been mooted as one of the potential sites for the UK’s first spaceport thanks to its 3km concrete runway. Now, the airport will be advertised for sale as the government gets set to invite expressions of interest in the business.
Scottish cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity Michael Matheson said: “Since the Scottish government bought the airport in 2013, we have been clear that it is our intention to return the business to the private sector when the time is right.
“The senior management team at the airport has continued to engage with potential buyers and investors to discuss proposals for developing the business under new ownership. Good progress continues to be made by the airport to increase revenue, deliver operating efficiencies and pursue exciting opportunities for the future, including Spaceport.
“In light of that progress, the airport will shortly place an advert in the Official Journal of the European Union inviting expressions of interest. Any proposals submitted as a result of the advert would be considered carefully before any decision was taken to divest our shareholding in the airport or any part of the business.”