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Prestwick Airport reveals spiralling losses

THE full scale of Prestwick Airport's financial woes have been laid bare as the latest accounts reveal a pre-tax loss of almost £10 million in its final full year of private ownership.

Company accounts show that the Ayrshire airport made a pre-tax loss of £9.77m in the 12 months to March 31, 2013. The figures reveal the escalation of Prestwick Airport's financial problems, coming on the back of a £2.3m pre-tax loss in the year to March 2012.

Weeks before the end of the 2012/13 financial year its then owners, New Zealand-based owner Infratil, had put the airport up for sale on the open market.

At the time the owners said they were concerned about dwindling passenger numbers, particularly during the school holidays. They had suffered a 20% fall in the number of people passing through the airport in July 2012 compared to the same month in 2011.

Infratil failed to find a private buyer for the site and faced being closed down altogether before the Scottish Government stepped in and snapped it up for a £1 on November 22.

With fixed assets valued at only £4m, Prestwick Airport had net liabilities of £16m at the end of the 2012/13 financial year.

The company accounts state that Prestwick Airport is only a going concern if its owner is willing to continue funding deficits.

They state that such an undertaking has been made by Transport Scotland on behalf of Scottish ministers.

The Scottish Government is seeking ways to turn around the airport's fortunes, seeking new airlines that could use it.

At present, Ryanair is the only operator flying scheduled flights in and out of Prestwick.

A significant percentage of the airport's aviation revenue is derived from freight and other aircraft activity.

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