Today a delegation from Heathrow Airport was welcomed at Glasgow Prestwick Airport to meet with senior airport representatives and multi-agency partners – including the Council – to showcase the unique strengths and rich potential the Ayrshire region has to offer in its bid to become Scotland's Heathrow Logistics Hub site.
A Scottish hub is guaranteed as a key commitment in Heathrow's plan to boost jobs and growth in Scotland as a consequence of the expansion project. The winning location will pioneer off-site manufacturing kicking off the creation of up to 16,000 new jobs and up to £17 billion in economic growth that the Heathrow expansion is predicted to bring Scotland.
The additional capacity to be realised from Heathrow's expansion also creates the potential for new domestic services flying to and from Scottish airports boosting the country's tourism and trade.
Stewart Adams, Glasgow Prestwick Airport's Chief Executive said: "Our proposition involves the airport as well as key neighbouring assets including the Port of Ayr; Falkland Rail Freight Yard and Newton Shore.
"We have been working collaboratively to develop a comprehensive offering that brings together a number of private and public sector partners and investors to showcase a multi-modal logistics hub proposition to support the future development of Heathrow. We believe it is the best combined air, rail, road and sea freight solution in Scotland, which is underpinned by accessible supply chain capability and capacity, skills pipeline and the availability of extensive industrial development sites. Along with the airport's niche specialisms, wide-ranging expertise and proven track record, we're confident that the region has all the key ingredients required to deliver expansion at Heathrow on time and on budget."
On the potential for additional Heathrow Domestic Routes, Mr Adams added: "A key target for Glasgow Prestwick Airport is securing a London route. It would provide much needed access to a wide range of onward connections.
"Additionally, this improved connectivity to the UK capital would prove hugely valuable for the Ayrshire economy by unlocking opportunities to access the large South East of England market and propagate inward investment opportunities that will likely follow the re-establishment of direct flights. We know that there is demand for this route and London Heathrow would be an ideal airport to partner with."
Eileen Howat, Chief Executive of South Ayrshire Council, said: "We firmly believe the South Ayrshire bid to become Scotland's Heathrow Logistics Hub site is the best option for Scotland and the UK, and we're proud to support our partners at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, the Port of Ayr, Falkland Rail Freight Yard and Newton Shore.
"Our bid brings together the best of the public and private sectors and showcases the fantastic assets we have to support expansion at Heathrow – location, infrastructure, connectivity, capability, capacity, skills, knowledge, expertise and ambition to succeed. It's a great example of the important role our area can play to boost both the Scottish and UK economies and this has been recognised by both the Scottish and UK governments who support our plans for an Ayrshire Growth Deal.
"A South Ayrshire Logistics Hub will deliver investment, growth, jobs, and will benefit people and communities right across the country. I'm sure that came across loud and clear to our visitors from Heathrow and I hope they make the right decision."
Stuart Cresswell, ABP's Port Manager at Ayr, said: "We are happy to support Prestwick Airport and South Ayrshire Council in their bid to develop an active working relationship with Heathrow. The integrated air, sea, road and rail links that can be offered by the Prestwick Ayr hub is truly unique and with much of the primary infrastructure already in place, it is a highly competitive proposition with excellent connectivity.
"ABP has been an active investor in Ayrshire in recent years and we are happy to continue to support our vibrant region."
As Europe's largest privately funded infrastructure project, the successful delivery of Heathrow's expansion relies on the talent and resources of businesses right across the country. Therefore, to open up opportunities for suppliers of all sizes, Heathrow has committed to locate four logistics hubs in different parts of the UK. The sites will be used to pre-assemble components before transporting them in consolidated loads to the airport.
Heathrow has a longstanding relationship with Scotland, and it is the only part of the UK that is guaranteed a Logistics Hub, a commitment outlined in the airport's Memorandum of Understanding with the Scottish Government. Once established, the Scottish Logistics Hub will ensure Scotland plays a key part in Heathrow's supply chain, while leaving a legacy of construction excellence that can be exported all round the world.
Lord Deighton, Chairman at Heathrow Airport, said: "The Heathrow Expansion project is a once in a generation opportunity to transform the UK construction industry, build for the future and deliver a lasting skills legacy for future generations. These Logistics Hubs and Business Summits are instrumental in our aim to ensure that expansion spreads tens of billions of pounds of economic benefits across the nation.
"We're delighted the Government has finally tabled the NPS to be voted on, enabling MPs from Scotland to show their support for the expansion project and the benefits it will bring."
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: "Expansion at Heathrow will bring major investment and job creation opportunities to Scotland. The establishment of a logistics hub in Scotland is one of the key commitments secured in the Memorandum of Understanding we signed with the airport. We are very pleased to see bids from across Scotland being given detailed consideration by the Heathrow team and this round of visits will improve the delegation's understanding and knowledge of what we have to offer."