Glasgow Prestwick Airport back in black with £3m operating profit

An airport owned by the Scottish Government has reported a financial turnaround after a £1 million loss the previous year.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport reported an underlying operating profit of £3 million, subject to audit, for the 12 months to March 31 2020.

Revenue increased by 46% year-on-year to £36 million, up from £24.6 million.

The Scottish Government has been seeking to sell the site after taking it into public hands for £1 in 2013.

A preferred bidder was appointed last year.

Stewart Adams, chief executive at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, said the development of new revenue opportunities coupled with measures to control costs and operational efficiencies helped improve the airport’s financial performance.

But he said the coronavirus pandemic is posing new challenges for the airport.

“This performance underlines Glasgow Prestwick Airport’s enhanced status as a vital strategic provider of international freight and aviation services, and a major infrastructure asset which benefits the Scottish economy,” Mr Adams said.

“While we were very much on an upward trajectory in terms of profitability before the global pandemic, it is inevitable that our future revenue and profits will be affected due to the impact of coronavirus.

“Even before the pandemic, our financial performance was hampered by declining passenger numbers and revenue.

“In turn, we do not expect passenger numbers to return to pre-coronavirus levels in the near future.”

The airport is owned by TS Prestwick Holdco, a private limited company wholly owned by the Scottish Government.

Coronavirus – Mon Jun 1, 2020
Coronavirus – Mon Jun 1, 2020

Mr Adams said talks are continuing with the preferred bidder.

He said: “A preferred bidder was appointed as part of the sale process.

“Whilst talks with the preferred bidder are continuing, it has been necessary to extend the timeframe for these discussions.

“Due to Glasgow Prestwick Airport’s importance to Scotland’s national infrastructure, we are confident that the business can be sold in due course.

“We will continue to investigate opportunities to further develop the business under its current ownership but also with an eye to future ownership as part of a markedly different global aviation industry.”

Since April, Glasgow Prestwick Airport and its specialist freight services have been involved in the welcoming and handling of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in Scotland.

Andrew Miller non-executive chairman at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, said: “On behalf of the board, we thank Stewart and his management team for last year’s exceptional results.

“During Stewart’s three years as chief executive the business has made significant gains in the marketplace.”