PRESTWICK International Airport claimed a ''first'' yesterday with the

launch of a new Air Train service giving passengers the right to free

rail travel between Prestwick and any manned rail station in Scotland.

Passengers with valid flight tickets will be issued at the station

with a complimentary rail ticket.

Passengers using the scheme will travel between Prestwick Station and

the airport in a courtesy road shuttle. However, it was announced

yesterday that by May next year, they should be able to use a new #2m

rail halt at the airport.

Mr Matthew Hudson, deputy chairman of Prestwick International's

operating company, PIK Ltd, said funding is being assembled for the

scheme, which its backers say is a world first.

There will be only limited charter services operating from Prestwick

this sumer, but for 1994, Mr Hudson said, a deal involving 50,000

passengers on holiday charters has already been concluded.

He hinted too that Prestwick could be bidding to handle flights

catering for passengers involved in the Hoover free flights deal.''.