The response revealed that the Scottish Government, which fully owns the airport’s holding company, spent £2,519,779.61 on “fees relating to the sale of Prestwick Airport” between August 2017 and March 2023.
Around £115,000 went towards “legal advice”, but the majority went towards reimbursing the airport for unidentified “professional fees”.
READ MORE: National Museum and Scottish Government clash over cost of totem pole
SNP ministers bought Glasgow Prestwick for £1 from New Zealand firm Infratil in 2013 to ensure the company’s survival and have since loaned it more than £43m.
Ryanair is now the only major passenger airline to use the Ayrshire site for regular flights.
But after periodic losses, the airport has returned to profitability in recent years thanks to cargo services and refueling of U.S. Air Force planes.
In 2019, ministers attempted to sell the airport and announced in May 2020 that a preferred bidder had been found.
However, the company later withdrew due to the devastating impact of Covid on the aviation industry.
Ministers then tried to sell it a second time and a new preferred bidder was identified in February 2021, but that sale also fell through in December 2021.
Ministers said they had “decided not to proceed with a sale at this stage”.
The government still says the airport is technically still for sale, but there has been no public confirmation of another offer as the potential sale in 2021 has been scrapped.
LibDem MP Willie Rennie said: “Lawyers and agents are getting rich promoting the sale of Prestwick but it seems it’s all useless.”
“This is the kind of poor economic mismanagement that characterizes SNP ministers.”
“The Scottish Government needs a plan for Prestwick that recognizes the importance of meeting our climate commitments and getting a good deal for taxpayers.”
READ MORE: A third of Glasgow City Council’s vehicles do not comply with LEZ regulations
The Scottish Government said it was committed to “giving it back to the private sector”.
A spokeswoman said: “The airport is currently profitable and the Government regularly receives expressions of interest in purchasing it.
“Ministers need to be confident that any sale not only adds value for the taxpayer but also puts the company on a solid footing.”
Due to its windy coastal location, Prestwick is the only UK airport not affected by fog.
It has two runways and a terminal building, originally built to accommodate four million passengers per year, with space for 18 check-in counters, 10 gates and 12 stands.
Around two thirds of the 356 hectare site is used for aviation activities.