Prestwick airport is facing a crisis because of doubts over plans to cut the amount of tax paid on airline tickets.
The SNP has long campaigned for a 50% cut in Air Passenger Duty (APD) from 2018 once Holyrood takes control of the levy.
SNP plans to cut the “tourism tax” could save families hundreds of pounds on the cost of a holiday, bring in an estimated one million extra passengers to Scotland every year, create 3,800 new jobs and encourage new route development, saving Scots the hassle and expense of flying from English airports.
Unfortunately, the Greens, Lib Dems, Labour and Tories all announced in their Holyrood manifestos that they are against the 50% cut and the SNP no longer has a majority.
Prestwick was banking on the tax cut to boost passenger numbers, with former chief executive Iain Cochrane describing the APD cut as “critical” and current bosses admitting it would make “a significant difference” to “business development efforts”.
Michael O’Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair – Prestwick’s last remaining passenger airline – has said new routes are only possible with an APD cut. It is estimated an APD cut would deliver to Prestwick an extra 345,000 passengers a year by 2020.
Said Kenneth Gibson:
"The Scottish economy will gain up to £1,000 million a year, families will be saved time, money and inconvenience and thousands of jobs will be created if we halve APD.
"Importantly, the very survival of Prestwick Airport could be compromised and Ayrshire's economy damaged if this policy is not implemented. It's time for Opposition parties to reflect on what is best for Scotland and back this policy."