Transportation Secretary Michael Matheson today confirmed that a new “preferred bidder” has been selected for the flight hub.
It follows the sale to a previously undisclosed preferred bidder – believed to be AGS Airports – which failed five months ago.
Scottish government ministers officially put the airport on sale in 2019.
Mr Matheson said: “Since the Scottish Government bought Glasgow Prestwick Airport (GPA) in 2013, we have made it clear that it is our intention to return the company to the private sector when the time comes.
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“In November, a notice was published in the Official Journal of the European Union inviting people to express their interest.
“This has attracted credible interest and since then GPA and its professional advisers have conducted a detailed assessment of competing offerings.
“I am pleased to report that significant progress has been made and have accepted the choice of a preferred bidder.
“This allows the process to take the next step and possibly an early divestment of our stake.
“To protect the integrity of the process, we will not reveal the identity of the preferred bidder at this stage.”
Ayr’s Tory MP John Scott welcomed the announcement, saying: “The failure to make a sale last year was a real disappointment after years of trying to find a buyer for our local airport, so that today’s news has been identified is really welcome.
“We all have to hope that the process is completed this time around and that it marks the start of a long-awaited renaissance of Prestwick Airport, securing hundreds of local jobs and the long-term future of Prestwick Airport. an asset that makes a very significant contribution to our local economy.
Scottish Labor Transport spokesperson Colin Smyth said: ‘It is essential that any agreement to sell Prestwick Airport includes a clear commitment by the buyer to retain and develop jobs at the airport , which are vital to the economy of Ayrshire.
“Any deal should also have a clear plan showing how the taxpayer will recover the tens of millions of pounds loaned to the airport out of public money.
“We must not allow a discount sale for the SNP government to wash their hands off the airport unless it gives the taxpayer good value for money.”
David Avery, of the Prospect Union, added: “Potential members will be reassured by the commitment to maintain operations at the airport and protect jobs, although they will rightly want to know all the details.
“The Scottish Government should do what it can do to make this a reality and not just warm words to protect jobs, aviation skills and connectivity for Ayrshire and the West of Scotland.”
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