Independence would boost Scottish airport says Prestwick chief


  By a Newsnet reporter
The boss of Prestwick airport has claimed that independence would open up business and provide a boost for the Ayrshire based facility.
Speaking on the BBC’s Business Scotland, Tom Wilson highlighted the success of small countries like Ireland and Iceland who had both developed a thriving airport industry with regular flights to North America.

Mr Wilson said: “There is no reason – particularly under independence – that Prestwick could not provide that for Scotland”.

The SNP welcomed the remarks and also echoed Mr Wilson’s views on Air Passenger Duty which is currently reserved to Westminster.

Commenting, South Scotland SNP MSP Chic Brodie said:

“Tom Wilson is absolutely right to draw comparisons with Ireland, which – despite being just across the water from Prestwick – has managed to turn itself into a major international air hub, connecting
Europe with North America.

“Mr Wilson’s comments on Air Passenger Duty are absolutely correct – Scotland’s airports are so far down Westminster’s list of priorities, that it’s no wonder their interests and needs have not been listened to.

“With the powers of an independent country we will have full control of APD which would allow us to bring more flights and choices to airports across Scotland.

“For people living in and around Prestwick, there is no bigger visual reminder of Westminster’s failure to look after Scotland’s interests than our local airport.

“That is unacceptable and we must be given the powers to make these decisions for ourselves in Scotland so that we can set APD at a level that will secure the best deal for people in Scotland.”

Mr Wilson said APD remained the biggest single issue, with airports outside of London in Scotland facing charges of £13 which was holding back airports, including those in Scotland.

According to the airport boss, removing the surcharge would see the net contribution by those airports to the UK economy rise not fall.