Mike Stewart, the New Business Development Director of cargo for Prestwick Airport, was recently appointed in November 2015 and has set out to drive freight contracts to Prestwick.
Stewarts’ 25 year background of working in aviation started out in engineering and eventually lead to his opportunity to manage the British Airways World Cargo regional operations.
With very little time to settle down, Mike Stewart quickly secured 285 tonnes worth of business to the airport, including a contract with Madonna to move stage set equipment for her December show at the SSE Hydro. Stewart maintains that freight is an “easy win” for Prestwick and that the “Madonna cargo win highlights exactly where Prestwick has not attempted to expand business under the new ownership of New Zealand-based infrastructure investment firm, Infratil”.
Stagecoach were the company to sell Prestwick Airport in 2001, which gave Infratil the chance to purchase the airport immediately for £33.4 million. However it was reported that as early as 2012, the company was running up losses of roughly £2 million a year.
As it stands, Prestwick has only one passenger carrier belonging to Ryanair, since the airport lost its contract with Wizz Air to Glasgow Airport in 2013. However as passenger growth is certainly a key focus, Stewart states “We need to understand the needs of our potential customers so we can approach airlines to meet those needs”
He goes on to add that he aims to achieve new passenger routes. These will help to increase the customer base from 5.9 million trips in 2013. Surveys within our catchment area will help us find out what customers want.
A corporate 5 year commercial plan was devised and sent to the government in order to return profitability. Within that, a year by year plan has been devised to get Prestwick through.