Numbers at Prestwick rise as airport expansion starts

Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire may not be a household name south of the border (although it does have the surprising claim to fame as being the only part of the UK ever to have been visited by Elvis Presley) but things are looking decidedly rosy for the Scottish airport.

Unlike many of its more well-known competitors, passenger numbers for September 2008 rose for the fifth consecutive month and work has recently started on a £1.7 million expansion plan for the airport.

The collapse of Seguro Holidays in September meant a drop in charter traffic but the airport remains a firm favourite with budget airlines such as Ryanair, Aer Arann, and Wizz Air. The £1.7 million is to be spent on expanding and refurbishing the departure lounge, a move which will be welcomed by the passengers using the airport. John Scott, MSP for Ayr, is delighted by the expansion and the benefits which it will bring to the region’s economy. Prestwick is the main employer in the area.

The airport predicts that passenger numbers will more than double in the next ten years. As Scotland’s fastest growing airport, it expects to take more of the Scottish market in the future and believes that if its rail service can be improved, it will do even better. Currently 20% of its passengers arrive and depart from the airport by train but with a restricted service in terms of operating hours this is not always an option for holiday makers and business travellers.


Prestwick Airport receives new routes

Prestwick Airport is to receive new flights to Tenerife, Malaga and Faro as part of the biggest expansion in budget airline Ryanair’s history.

The huge expansion is taking place all across the UK and Europe, with 12 new flights from the UK and 40 new routes across the continent expected to be up and running by the time winter sets in.

The new additions mean that Ryanair will now run 29 routes out of Prestwick Airport. This also includes a new additional flight to Belfast every day, adding to the one that already departs daily from the airport.

Mark Rodwell, chief executive of Prestick Airport, said that the new routes to Spain and Portugal demonstrate “Ryanair’s commitment to expand and offer the best choice of European routes from Glasgow Prestwick Airport”.

He also said that the new destinations had “always been popular among Scots” and that the low fares offered by Ryanair will make them doubly attractive for holidaymakers.

Ryanair has been offering special £10 seats throughout June and July to celebrate their expansion of new routes, although the flights from Prestwick will not be available until the end of October.

The new flight details are as follows:

  • Destination: Tenerife
  • Days: Mondays and Fridays
  • Flights begin: 27th October 2008
  • Price: between £50 and £75 (one way with fees)
  • Destination: Malaga
  • Days: Mondays , Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • Flights begin: 27th October 2008
  • Price: £44.06 (one way with fees)
  • Destination: Faro
  • Days: Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Flights begin: 29th October 2008
  • Price: £50.06 (one way with fees)

All flights are available to buy now from Ryanair.


New flight to Turkey from Prestwick Airport

May 26th 2008 saw the announcement of a new holiday option for travellers from Prestwick Airport, as Scottravel Holidays officially launched a new route to Turkey.

The flight will take place once every week during the summer months, and many people are expected to take advantage of the new route. For a long time now, Turkey has been viewed as a great holiday destination. However, for many people, it has not been a viable option due to a limited number of flights departing from smaller airports.

Travellers will arrive at Dalaman, and from here they will be able to reach the popular and lively resort of Marmaris, a town steeped in history but one which also caters for the package holiday crowd, with a large number of restaurants, hotels and nightclubs. For those searching for a quieter break, the nearby İçmeler is a relaxing choice.

However, the choice is not limited to these locations as Ovacık and Ölüdeniz, located in the Fethiye region, will also be easily accessible to tourists taking advantage of the new route. Indeed, Serkan Aydin, Managing Director of Scottravel Holidays, has said that “we can create the perfect Turkish adventure to suit all tastes and budgets”.

Turkey offers a great alternative to other European destinations. It has a fantastic climate, the temperature soars in the summer and it is steeped in history and culture. Typically known as the point where East meets West, it has Iraq on one side and the rest of Europe on the other.

Mark Rodwell, Chief Executive of Prestwick Airport, focused on the benefits of travelling to Turkey when he said: “Many holidaymakers are now turning their attention away from the more traditional European destinations, due to a very unfavourable exchange rate from the pound to the Euro”.

Flight prices vary but as a guide, Thomas Cook offers a one-way flight for £43.99, including all taxes and charges.


Polish connections

November 2005 will see the commencement of services between Glasgow Prestwick airport and Krakow, Poland.

The service, which will operate three times a week, is to be one of the few services flying direct to Krakow from the UK, meaning that it is expected to be popular.


Passenger figures soar

Passenger numbers were up 15% in June this year, compared to June 2004.The overall figures show that the passenger numbers are up by 10% for the year.


Prestwick welcomes 10,000,000th passenger

The end of July saw Prestwick’s 10,000,000th passenger pass through its gates.The passenger, who was checking in to fly to Murcia with Ryanair, was surprised to be told that she was the 10,000,000th passenger, and was presented with a goodie bag and bottle of champagne – along with her travelling companion.


Hawk working at Prestwick

There’s no doubt about it – birds are a dangerous menace to aircraft and, when they choose to take up residence near a runway, desperate measures are called for.

Last week, an RAF aircraft from RAF Leuchars in Fife had to divert to Edinburgh Airport because of a “bird strike” in the air and, in 1980, two RAF pilots were killed after striking birds not long after they took off from RAF Kinloss. In 2006, a Ryanair plane taking off from Prestwick airport had to land, after a seagull was sucked into its engine. The list of mishaps, some of them fatal, involving birds and planes goes on and on. But what can be done to solve the problem?

Prestwick airport is delighted to announce the arrival of Jasper, a Harris hawk who, it is hoped, will scare away the flock of seagulls that are nesting on the roof of a Scottish Water building, close to the airport’s runway. Birds of prey have already earned their keep at Leeds, Bradford, Exeter and many American airports, including JFK.

Jasper’s appointment follows unsuccessful attempts to see the gulls off, including installing protective netting, removing the birds’ nests and using an artificial bird of prey, which obviously did not fool the gulls. Grass near the runway is kept short so that birds are not tempted to nest there and recordings of distressed bird call are played in an attempt to frighten the birds away. It is only to be hoped that Rentokil’s Jasper will have more success in this humane fight against these determined gulls.