I listened to Gordon Dewar on Radio Scotland’s Business Scotland programme complaining about subsidies to Prestwick. He sounded like a man worried about the prospect of a rejuvenated and rebranded Prestwick Airport. Perhaps he thinks that a renamed Robert Burns International Airport would be a serious threat to his plans for growth. He has no need to worry.
With investment and the right branding Prestwick would be well placed to become a European and long haul hub with an expanded route network, an even stronger Ryanair presence and new carriers serving both tourist and business sectors. It is clear that the Scottish government want to see a commercially successful Prestwick Airport, otherwise they would just have let it close. It is equally clear that they would not want to support Prestwick to the detriment of the other Scottish Airports as this would only involve shifting subsidies to weakened Edinburgh and Glasgow Airports.
There is a bigger global picture which sees a future for Scotland with increased growth, increased interest from business and tourist travellers and all Scotland’s airports should benefit from this. The demand for increased capacity in London has always been to the detriment of both Scotland’s and the other UK regional airports. Manchester should be able to benefit from the indecision about a third runway at Heathrow, but there is no political will down south to support a northern hub. With the decision making in Scotland, The Scottish Government would be expected to come up with a plan which will bring the new carriers and routes to Scotland’s airports and which will see the growth in passenger numbers that all Scotland’s airports and tourist businesses need and which all those interested in seeing the Scottish economy grow are working for.