Page Loading

The economic impact of Glasgow Prestwick Airport


In August 2012, Scottish Enterprise commissioned an economic impact study of Glasgow Prestwick Airport (GPA) in order to provide an update on the current role that the airport plays in the Ayrshire and Scottish economies, building on previous research undertaken in 2008. The report focuses on estimating the net impacts relating to eight main areas: the Airport Company; the Airport Company supply chain; maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) activities on-site; other tenant businesses, excluding HMS Gannet and freight; HMS Gannet; freight traffic; tourism impacts; and off-site aerospace & MRO impacts. The study also sought to examine the potential economic impact of GPA in the future based on the Airport Management’s forecasts for future passenger and freight traffic growth through to 2017.


The methodology involved an analysis of the quantifiable impact of the airport in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) and employment, supplemented by a range of consultations with regional and national organisations, including a number of local businesses.


It is estimated that, in 2012, GPA supports a net additional economic impact of 1,350 jobs and £47.6 million in GVA in Ayrshire. In Scotland as a whole, these impacts are increased to a total of 1,810 jobs and £61.6 million in GVA. Within Ayrshire the largest contributor in terms of employment was found to be on-site MRO (460 net jobs) at the airport followed by the Airport Company (290 net jobs) and the airport’s contribution to inbound tourism (270 jobs). With regard to GVA, on-site MRO are again the largest contributors (£19.2 million), followed by the Airport Company (£8.4 million). In terms of the balance of impacts in Scotland, tourism is by far the largest area of impact in terms of employment (670 jobs), with on-site MRO (430 jobs) and the Airport Company (240 jobs) the next largest areas of impact. For GVA, onsite MRO and tourism impact are the largest. The report identifies a number of changes at the airport over recent years that have resulted in a substantial decline in the airport’s economic impact since the last study in 2008: a significant decline in passenger traffic; the loss of a number of key routes; a significant decline in freight traffic; and the growth of MRO on-site at the airport. Within Ayrshire, it is estimated that in 2012 it supports around 340 fewer jobs than in 2008 and supports around £4.2 million less in GVA. Across Scotland as a whole this has fallen by around 1,190 jobs and £27.2 million in GVA. The biggest driver of these reductions has been reductions in the impact the airport has on inbound tourism. The Airport Company’s traffic forecasts for the future see a recovery in passenger throughput and in freight traffic by 2017, which, if achieved, could result in an increase in the economic impact of the airport compared to 2012 levels.


No recommendations were made as this was not in the remit of the report.

Author York Aviation
Published Year 2012
Report Type Research