Posted on 18th May 2016 at 2:45pm
Glasgow’s Prestwick Airport
“Why does Glasgow need two airports?” asked an acquaintance and I thought it would be useful to write a short piece explaining why Glasgow Prestwick co-exists with its larger big brother, Glasgow International.
Prestwick, which is on the Ayrshire coast, 30 miles from Glasgow, has had a sizable airfield since the 1930s. During the war, it was used to import vital supplies from the United States. In those days the local climate, which was less cloudy than most other places in Scotland was a plus. Now with computer assisted flight a bit of cloud is neither here nor there.
The airport’s glory days ended in the 1960s and it then limped on largely as a result of political pressure – an influential local member of parliament had a wafer thin majority throughout the 1980s.
Prestwick Airport was sold to the Scottish Government in 2013 – for £1. There are currently a handful of Ryanair flights to Spain, Italy, Lanzarote and a few other destinations. The airport is a white elephant. A majestic building in an attractive area, but as far as mass transit is concerned, its usefulness has passed.
Prestwick Airport Review
In 2014 a review was published and a spokesman said: “Everyone acknowledges there is no quick fix solution for Glasgow Prestwick but we firmly believe that the airport has a bright future.”
“Building sustainable passenger growth is important and in common with other Scottish airports we will continue to call for the removal of Air Passenger Duty. We will also pursue other commercial opportunities across our diverse revenue streams such as freight, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and property.”
“In particular we believe freight presents a number of excellent opportunities. We have the longest commercial runway in Scotland which can handle the world’s largest freighters such as 747s and Antonovs.”
For all the PR spin of 2014, a viable plan for Prestwick is not yet on the horizon – but the Trump connection is intriguing.
Donald Trump and Prestwick Airport
On 1 June the Trump Turnberry Hotel will be reopened after a £200 million refit by the Republican candidate’s organisation. If the revamped hotel, and its wonderful championship golf course, takes off and attracts the world’s rich and famous, where better for the Lear jets to shuttle in and out of, than Prestwick Airport?
The fact that the leftish Scottish SNP administration might end up in some kind of partnership with the Donald is intriguing. That story has it all – big egos, big business and a lot of money on the table. I suspect there will be more to say about that in the coming months.
Elvis and Prestwick Airport
OK, so what’s the connection with Elvis, I hear you ask? As many pub quizzers will tell you, Prestwick Airport is the only part of Britain that the King visited.
It was a stopover when he completed his duty as a GI in Germany and was waiting for Uncle Sam to transport him back to Graceland, Colonel Tom and all those movies and concerts.
He spent two hours there – perhaps the Donald could put up a plaque.
This article was kindly supplied by Rampantscotland.com – a website that has been celebrating all that Scotland has to offer since 1996.