An airport owned by the Scottish Government has reported a financial turnaround after a £1 million loss the previous year.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport reported an underlying operating profit of £3 million, subject to audit, for the 12 months to March 31 2020.

Revenue increased by 46% year-on-year to £36 million, up from £24.6 million.
The Scottish Government has been seeking to sell the site after taking it into public hands for £1 in 2013.

READ MORE: Opinion: Paul Sheerin: Colleagues will look at the way a company treated those who had to leave

A preferred bidder was appointed last year.

Stewart Adams, chief executive at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, said the development of new revenue opportunities coupled with measures to control costs and operational efficiencies helped improve the airport's financial performance.

But he said the coronavirus pandemic is posing new challenges for the airport.

"This performance underlines Glasgow Prestwick Airport's enhanced status as a vital strategic provider of international freight and aviation services, and a major infrastructure asset which benefits the Scottish economy," Mr Adams said.

"While we were very much on an upward trajectory in terms of profitability before the global pandemic, it is inevitable that our future revenue and profits will be affected due to the impact of coronavirus.

"Even before the pandemic, our financial performance was hampered by declining passenger numbers and revenue.

"In turn, we do not expect passenger numbers to return to pre-coronavirus levels in the near future."

The airport is owned by TS Prestwick Holdco, a private limited company wholly owned by the Scottish Government.

Mr Adams said talks are continuing with the preferred bidder.

He said: "A preferred bidder was appointed as part of the sale process.

"Whilst talks with the preferred bidder are continuing, it has been necessary to extend the timeframe for these discussions.

"Due to Glasgow Prestwick Airport's importance to Scotland's national infrastructure, we are confident that the business can be sold in due course.

"We will continue to investigate opportunities to further develop the business under its current ownership but also with an eye to future ownership as part of a markedly different global aviation industry."

Since April, Glasgow Prestwick Airport and its specialist freight services have been involved in the welcoming and handling of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in Scotland.

Andrew Miller non-executive chairman at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, said: "On behalf of the board, we thank Stewart and his management team for last year's exceptional results.

"During Stewart's three years as chief executive the business has made significant gains in the marketplace."

A factory has been closed and school pupils are self-isolating as health officials work to contain a number of coronavirus clusters across Scotland.

In Perthshire, the 2 Sisters food processing plant in Coupar Angus has been closed after four members of staff tested positive for the virus, with a further three workers awaiting results.

READ MORE: 'Hollow mountain' power station to undergo £1m upgrade

In addition, there are two connected cases in the community.

NHS Tayside said arrangements are being made for testing of employees.

Close contacts are being advised to self-isolate and other identified contacts are being followed up and given appropriate advice.

An incident management team is working with the Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland and local environmental health teams to provide advice and support.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "Where clusters of cases develop we must find them and act quickly to prevent further spread.

"Public health teams in Tayside are responding quickly to this outbreak and we are liaising closely with them, Food Standards Scotland and Perth and Kinross Council to discuss all appropriate measures to contain this cluster.

"However, individuals who have been in this plant should be extra vigilant, ensure they follow all public health advice and if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 should isolate and book a test on the NHS website."

Health officials are also investigating a number of clusters in the central belt.

An additional coronavirus case has been confirmed in a pupil at Bannerman High School in Glasgow after the Test and Protect service identified a cluster of positive cases in north-east Glasgow, a number of whom are pupils of the school.

In a letter to parents, carers and pupils, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said while none of the cases had been present at the school during the period in which they may be infectious to others up until now, the new case was there during this infectious period.

The health board said it has undertaken a risk assessment to identify any other pupils and staf this individual had contact with during this time.

These individuals are being contacted by the Test and Protect team and told to self-isolate.

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: "Public Health's assessment is that the infection is unlikely to have occurred within the school and is linked to the Baillieston virus cluster.

"Close contacts have been notified via test and protect and will be self-isolating for the required number of days and a letter issued on Sunday night to all families, pupils and staff with updated information."

Meanwhile, NHS Lanarkshire is carrying out an investigation after three pupils from St Ambrose High School and one from St Andrew's High School, both in Coatbridge, tested positive.

A fifth case, who is linked to these but is not a pupil, has also been identified.
In Orkney, the health board said nine positive Covid-19 cases are now linked to the fishing vessel cluster in Orkney - up three from Friday.

The new cases are all crew members from the boat and all have been self-isolating.

In Aberdeen, 207 cases have now been confirmed in the city linked to an outbreak discovered in bars and restaurants, while 1,050 contacts have been identified.

Budget airline easyJet has confirmed plans to close its bases in Stansted, Southend and Newcastle as the company tries to slash costs at the airports where 670 people work for it.

The company said that it will push ahead with the plans that it revealed in June, as it started consulting with staff over the future.

READ MORE: KPMG in Scotland appoints three new directors

In May, easyJet had said it was going to cut as much as 30% of its workforce.
It has now completed a consultation with the unions and will start talking to individual members of staff.

Around 670 pilots and crew work at the three bases that are going to be closed.

"We have had to take the very difficult decision to close three UK bases as a result of the unprecedented impact of the pandemic and related travel restrictions, compounded by quarantine measures in the UK which is impacting demand for travel," said chief executive Johan Lundgren.

He added: "Working closely with our employee representatives, I am pleased that we have been able to identify ways to significantly reduce the number of proposed compulsory redundancies through providing enhanced voluntary redundancy packages for all UK crew alongside additional options like part-time and seasonal contracts, base transfers and unpaid leave which we expect to result in reducing the number of job losses overall.

"We would like to reassure customers due to fly from these airports that we are now contacting anyone whose flight is affected with clear advice on their options, which include rerouting via alternative airports or receiving a full refund.

"I know this is a very difficult time for our pilots and crew and I would like to thank them for their continued professionalism."

EasyJet said that by consulting with Unite, 93% of the cabin crew who were at risk of compulsory redundancy chose an enhanced voluntary redundancy instead.

The airports will close from the beginning of next month, and customers who are affected will be told how to get a refund or to fly from another site.

You can now have the bulletin and the top business news stories sent direct to your email inbox twice-daily for free. Tick Business Bulletin AM edition and Business Bulletin PM edition, and Business Week for the weekly round-up on Sunday, in the newsletters section here to sign up: