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Publication - FOI / EIR Release

Sale of Prestwick Airport: FOI release

Published: 19 Mar 2018

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/18/00433
Date received: 4 February 2018
Date responded: 6 March 2018

Information requested

Request regarding Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

  • Can the Scottish government provide details of any correspondence between Prestwick Airport and the government relating to potential bidders looking to buy the airport since 2011?

  • If you cannot provide the correspondence due to commercial sensitivity can you provide dates when formal interest in buying the airport has been made known to the Scottish government?

  • If you cannot provide the correspondence due to commercial sensitivity can you provide dates when details of a formal bid to buy the airport has been made known to the Scottish government?

  • If the Scottish government has never been notified of interest to buy Prestwick or a formal bid for it can you please confirm that.

  • Can you provide details (terms, interest rates etc ) of the commercial terms of the loans the Scottish government has provided to support Prestwick Airport to date?

Response

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide details of any correspondence between Prestwick Airport and the Scottish Government in relation to potential investors because an exemption under section s.33(1)(b) Commercial interests of FOISA applies to that information. The reasons why these exemptions apply are explained below.

Since announcing our intention to purchase the company in September 2013, the Scottish Government have received and considered a number of approaches from parties expressing an interest in purchasing or investing in the business. Information on when the Scottish Government was notified of a potential investors interest in either purchasing or investing in the business is provided in the table below.

Year Expressions of interest received
2013 7
2014 6
2015 0
2016 3
2017 5
2018 1

In response to your question regarding the loan funding provided to Glasgow Prestwick Airport, page 33 of the TS Prestwick HoldCo Ltd Annual Accounts for the financial year 2016-17, available at http://www.glasgowprestwick.com/corporate/about-us/performance-and-reporting/

provides information on the interest rate and loan amounts. The rate of interest applicable to the loan is the annual rate which is 2.2% per annum over the European reference rate for state aid for the UK as set by the European Union, which currently gives an interest rate of 3.24%. The loan is repayable on demand by the Scottish Government.

Reasons for not providing information

An exemption under section s.33(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested as it relates to commercial discussions between potential investors in Glasgow Prestwick Airport. This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this request, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is public interest in release as there is an interest in when Glasgow Prestwick Airport will be returned to the private sector. However, this is outweighed by the public interest that discussions between the Scottish Government and potential investors are on a commercial and confidential basis. Disclosure of any potential interest could affect the return of the airport to the private sector and be prejudicial to any discussions with potential investors or buyers.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Published:
19 Mar 2018
Sale of Prestwick Airport: FOI release