A leading aviation study claims passenger numbers at Prestwick Airport are ready to soar by 50 per cent.
And economic gurus insist the airport can play a key role in Scotland’s financial future.
A report by York Aviation has piled praise on Prestwick’s potential to expand and says the glory days are set to return.
The study, commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, comes at a time when the airport’s value has hit rock bottom with investors desperately being sought for the site.
But according to the top report, Prestwick still has plenty to offer the flight market – and could be ready to launch a massive comeback.
Passenger forecasts for 2017 put Prestwick as handling 2.1 million people – up from the expected 1.4 million next year.
Talking about the figures, the report states: “If these are achieved, this would see passenger throughput at the airport beginning to approach the levels seen at its high point in 2007 and 2008.
“The forecasts to 2017 also see Prestwick moving back towards a route structure more akin to that in place in 2008.”
The report adds: “We estimate that by 2017, Prestwick will support around 1820 net jobs in Ayrshire .
“Across Scotland as a whole, Prestwick’s total net impact is expected to be around 2760 jobs.
“This reflects a substantial recovery in the level of impact since 2012.”
Ayrshire politicians say the report is further proof of Prestwick’s ongoing value to the aviation industry.
And they insist the airport is now a wonderful opportunity for a new buyer.
South of Scotland MSP, Chic Brodie, said: “This report shows the kind of potential Prestwick has and any new owner needs to make the most of that.
“We’re very lucky that our airport has a long list of positive things going for it.
“Not only does it have a wonderful aerospace engineering site on hand, it boasts a huge runway and has great weather benefits.
“Any potential buyer who is looking at this report cannot fail to be encouraged.”
Ayr MSP John Scott agrees that the outlook for the airport will be brighter once a new buyer is on board.
He said: “I welcome this report, which provides some fairly in-depth analysis of Prestwick Airport and all that it has to offer.
“I’m particularly delighted to see the prediction of such a drastic growth in passenger numbers.
“To think that we could see a leap of some 50 per cent by 2017 is most encouraging.”