Prestwick Aerospace strengthened with new manager appointment

As part of a two-year support package, South Ayrshire Council and the national economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, have approved £250,000 to develop the Prestwick Aerospace sector, as part of work being delivered by the Prestwick Aerospace partnership, with key partner Glasgow Prestwick Airport (GPA). The money will help to pay for a comprehensive development programme, including infrastructure, business development, energy reduction and supply chain development. Once in place, the new programme manager will work with a range of partner organisations. GPA will provide office and administrative support, with the programme manager based at the airport.

With the recent announcement by the UK Government on Friday 14 May that it would be developing a regulatory framework for spaceport sites, Glasgow Prestwick Airport intends to proceed with applying for a spaceport licence once the framework is launched. Ahead of the details of this framework being announced, Glasgow Prestwick is continuing to work with industry to build a network of partners, suppliers and customers. Glasgow Prestwick has had a technical feasibility study carried out to assess what investment will be required to become an operational spaceport. The study showed that with as little as £1 million investment, that the airport could become an operational spaceport.

Eileen Howat, South Ayrshire Council’s chief executive said the time was right for fresh investment. “Aerospace is already a vital sector for the Ayrshire and Scottish economy and we’re now entering an exciting phase where we need to push forward our ambitious plans for Prestwick.

“Recent news of the licensing framework for spaceports means that Prestwick stands the best chance of being the UK’s first commercial hubs to service growing demand for industrial and tourism space related services. But to achieve wider growth in the aerospace sector we need to invest, and as part of a wider approach, we’re looking to secure an exceptional individual to help accelerate jobs growth and attract investment, and I think this new appointment will do just that.”

Prestwick sees itself as a frontrunner to become one of the first and, should a license be granted, the project is forecast to deliver up to 1,450 jobs in a 10-year period, and up to £320 million of additional economic activity.

Allan McQuade, Scottish Enterprise business infrastructure director said: “Prestwick could soon become a world leader in an emerging market. We want to help create an environment that delivers competitive advantage for the Scottish aerospace industry, while also driving innovation in the aerospace and space industries.

“The forecasts already point to strong growth for Prestwick, but the hard work starts now if we are to steal a march on competitors from across the UK.

“While Ayrshire is already home to a thriving aerospace industry, we need to identify new partners from across the world to complement our capabilities here, as we work towards fully realising our wider ambitions.”

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