Infratil Puts Glasgow Prestwick and Manston Up for Sale

Scotland’s Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Manston – Kent’s International Airport – have been put up for sale by Infratil, the New Zealand-based company that currently owns them.  Prestwick has suffered declining passenger numbers, which have dropped by a third to 1.4 million in the past two years.  Flybe introduced flights from Manston last year, but it has now withdrawn these because they were not economically viable.
Infratil lost a combined £6 million ($9.5m) in the 12 months to March last year.  It said that the two facilities were put up for sale so that it could shake up its investment plans.  Commenting at the firm’s ‘Investor Day 2012’ CEO Marko Bogoievski said he had “no regrets” about the decision and that both were “under-performing assets”.
Meanwhile Prestwick’s CEO Iain Cochrane was optimistic about the future.  He remarked that: “Prestwick is a great airport with a great team and a great future.  I believe this is an excellent opportunity for us to attract new investment to provide the stimulus for future growth.  It’s business as usual as the busy summer season approaches.”
Manston has seen various attempts by several carriers to launch commercial flights, but lack of demand has meant that so far these have been unsuccessful.  The airport’s long runway means that it can accommodate large aircraft, such as the Boeing 747, therefore it has actively pursued cargo traffic; though in recent years this has mostly been by freight charters.  Several companies are said to be interested in both airports, although no details have yet been released.