On Monday, I visited Glasgow Prestwick International Airport with three fellow SNP Ayrshire Constituency MSPs.
Bought by the SNP Government for £1 in 2013 to avoid closure and the loss of hundreds, potentially thousands of Ayrshire jobs directly and in the supply chain, Prestwick is now making a profit, being one of the few airports in the world to do so during the pandemic. They have ambitious investment plans to encourage more travellers to fly to and from Ayrshire, boosting our local economy and supporting businesses large and small.
The airports Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul sector is a huge local employer. Work is carried out by seven companies including Ryanair, who have 650 skilled employees on site and are looking to hire a further 200.
In the photo we visited a ‘Storm’ hanger. Previously Chevron, Storm plan to double their 56 strong workforce at Prestwick over the next year.
Hosting military flights, including the Canadian Royal Air Force is vitally important to Prestwick as is aerospace, with Prestwick at the forefront of developing horizontal take-off facilities.
Prestwick shared their ambitions to utilise the airport’s highly efficient cargo facilities, whereby planes are turned around within 90 minutes, with freight reaching London via Prestwick faster than cargo flying directly to Heathrow, which can take two days to clear.
Plans are afoot to develop solar and ground source energy, sell of surplus land and build a hotel.
Prestwick’s ubiquity made it the scene of a recent Bollywood ‘blockbuster,’ masquerading as Dubai!
I look forward to working with the airport in the future to support their ambitious plans and increase employment opportunities for people across Ayrshire. A group of Tory MSPs – previously keen on closing Prestwick – changed their minds after a visit, when the realisation finally dawned on them that it is a key manufacturing and communications hub with 4,500 associated jobs.
I am pictured with fellow MSPs Elena Whitham, Willie Coffey and Siobhian Brown along with Ian Forgie, Chief Executive Officer and Jules Matteoni, Operations Director. Juan Merrill, Finance Director, also met with us.