Brian Donohoe MP has warned a lack of investment in Prestwick airport by its New Zealand-based owner is damaging prospects of its sale and putting its future in doubt.
Donohoe, who is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Aviation Group, claimed standards had fallen at the airport since owner Infratil put it up for sale in March.
Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, he said: “The fact is that they (Infratil) have taken it off its balance sheet as an operation and that doesn’t help the situation obviously as a result of the non-investment that goes with that.
“You don’t take an airport into ownership on a short-term basis – you take it on the basis of long term.”
He said a decision by the company to write off losses from Prestwick, and its other airport Kent Manston, had produced a visible effect at Prestwick, whose “tired” appearance was noticeable to passengers.
The Labour MP’s comments came after the airport was forced to close last week after heavy rain.
Infratil Airports Europe chief executive Tom Wilson said in a statement: “The sales process is running slowly, which is symptomatic of the general state of the economy rather than any particular investment policy Infratil has.
“It’s a tough market to enter – since 2008, aviation has been at best static and in many places in decline.
“The reality is that when a business is for sale, the current shareholder is unlikely to spend any more than they need to.
“And it’s also the case that anyone interested in purchasing the airport will look at the size of the operation and decide on any investment that may be required.”
Prestwick passenger numbers have fallen sharply in recent years. The airport is heavily reliant on Ryanair flights, which have been severely cut as the low cost airline moved services to Edinburgh.
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