Michael O’Leary’s airline, Ryanair, is to build a new maintenance hangar at Prestwick airport, creating up to 200 jobs. The carrier has also announced an extension of its sun and sea routes from the Scottish airport, commencing in May 2010.
Prestwick might not be the most famous airport in the UK, and few people can claim to know exactly where it is, but the site has an illustrious history, being the only place in Britain to have felt the feet of the late Elvis Presley, and having the largest control tower in Europe within its perimeter.
The airport is increasingly becoming a focus for new aviation technologies, surpassing even the largest regional sites, such as Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow airports, and etching out a niche as one of the most reliable airports in Britain. Prestwick is rarely beaten by the elements.
O’Leary’s new hangar, which will become the second such building under Ryanair control, could boost the number of airline jobs in the area to 2400, cementing the carrier’s position as one of the largest employers in the Ayrshire region.
Construction will be subsidised by the Scottish government, to the tune of £1.5m in training grants and business funding. Alex Salmond, First Minister of the Scottish National Party, praised Ryanair’s efforts to support the local economy:
“Ryanair makes a substantial contribution to Scotland’s economy through its engineering facilities. Investment at Prestwick supports this government’s ambition to increase sustainable economic growth by creating quality new jobs."
The airline recently announced three new routes at Edinburgh, including Scotland’s first ever route to Morocco.