The operators behind Glasgow Airport are thought to be the unnamed ‘preferred bidder’ behind a move to take over nearby Prestwick, according to reports.

Transport secretary Michael Matheson announced a buyer had been found for the troubled transport hub, which passed into public ownership for £1 in 2013.

READ MORE: Preferred bidder chosen to take over Prestwick Airport

Mr Matheson said the bidder for the airport, operated on a commercial basis and at arm's length from the Scottish Government, could not be disclosed.

However, reports in The Scotsman suggest AGS Airports, which also owns hubs in Aberdeen and Southampton, are the group behind the purchase.

It is currently unknown whether £40 million worth of loans owed to the Scottish Government will be repaid as part of the deal.

Earlier this month, the airport reported a total loss of £3.8 million, including loan interest, for the 12 months ended March 31. 

READ MORE: State-backed Prestwick Airport posts a fresh loss

A spokesperson for the group said: “We have always stated we would welcome an outcome which returns Prestwick Airport to a commercial footing in the private sector.”

He added: "We have been monitoring the situation closely following the Government’s decision to place the airport on the market and will continue to watch with interest.”