Glasgow Prestwick Airport
Glasgow Prestwick Airport is not nearly as busy as its larger, better-known rival, the Glasow International Airport. Prestwick can claim better weather than most of its competitors, due to its lower incidence of fog, a big travel problem for the British Isles. The airport was almost closed until the introduction of a rail travel station. This revitalized the airfield, and there are now about 2 million travelers per year. Prestwick still cannot compete with Edinburgh Airport, which serves about 9.5 million, and Glasgow International Airport, which serves some 6.9 million. With its long runways and smaller traffic flow, however, it was Prestwick Airport that got the honor of receiving the special jets of international leaders, who attended the G-8 summit in Scotland in 2005.
Airlines & Popular Destinations
Only two airlines use the airport, providing a handful of European routes and many charter flights to European sun or ski destinations. The airport has a single terminal that was renovated and modernized in 2005. There is plenty of parking to accommodate travelers, but train travel to the airport offers a viable alternative. Major regular routes include Dublin, Ireland, Derry, Northern Ireland, and London’s smallest airport, Stansted. A major European route is the Paris Beauvais-Tille Airport. This small regional airport is actually an hour from Paris, but it added Paris to its name to gain some clout. Gdansk, Wroclaw, and Warsaw are three regular Polish routes. Many charter flights take passengers to sunny spots in Portugal, Spain, Italy or their islands. The most popular vacation destinations include Alicante, Tenerife-Sur, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Faro and Girona.
Catching a connecting flight is difficult from Prestwick due to its use of smaller airports. Dublin is a possible connecting flight destination. Connecting flights from Beauvais are mainly to Eastern Europe. For international flights, Prestwick travelers would have to leave Beauvais-Tille and travel to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport. Similarly, they would have to leave London’s Stansted and go to London’s Heathrow Airport.
History of Glasgow Prestwick Airport
The original airport was developed by David Fowler McIntyre and his fellow aviator, the Duke of Hamilton. In 1933, the men had made history together by being the first to fly over Mount Everest. McIntyre opened the airport as a training airfield and quickly built a hangar, a control tower, and offices. It wasn’t until World War II that the airfield began to be heavily used. It was a critical part of the war effort, handling air ferry traffic for the United States troops. The white art deco building was actually moved to the site from the 1938 Empire Exhibition held at Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park. This building was called the Palace of Engineering during the exhibition. It later became a factory before being recognized for its historic value.
In 1960, the airport was the stopping point for the military plane on which a young Elvis Presley was traveling. He was, at the time, in the U.S. army, and this is remembered by many as his only trip to Great Britain. A lounge is named in his honor, and a plaque was unveiled in 2006. More recently, the airport has become known as the home of one of the busiest Royal Navy search and rescue posts. This life-saving group is featured on the regular documentary series Highland Emergency. Top Gear, another BBC show, also uses the airport as a site for its unusual experiments.