Scotland’s regional government is taking over Prestwick airport after its owner, New Zealand-based infrastructure group Infratil, was unable to find a buyer for Glasgow’s second gateway.
Infratil – which also owns Manston airport in southeast England – has been trying to sell the two UK hubs since March 2012.
But the regional administration now says that "it’s clear that no private buyer will be able to take the purchase forward in an acceptable timescale", despite sales support from government investment arm Scottish Enterprise and local authorities.
Deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon says the Scottish government has thus decided to acquire Prestwick airport.
The negotiation are to be completed "over the next six weeks", says Infratil’s chief executive Marko Bogoievski.
Meantime, it is "business as usual" for the airport's operation, says Sturgeon.
The government decided to step in to safeguard around 1,400 jobs which depend on or are associated with Prestwick airport.
"Prestwick airport’s importance to the local Ayrshire and wider Scottish economy cannot be overstated – and it is vital that all efforts are made to keep the airport open," says Sturgeon.
Irish budget carrier Ryanair operates a base maintenance facility at Prestwick airport.