US deal with Prestwick put on hold
A lucrative new US military aircraft refuelling deal with Glasgow Prestwick Airport has been put on hold amid multiple investigations and growing political scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic into US military patronage and spending at the transport hub and President Trump’s flagship Scottish resort, The Scotsman can reveal.
A US Defence Department agency has postponed a lucrative new military aircraft refuelling deal with Glasgow Prestwick Airport amid multipleinvestigations and growing political scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic into US military patronage and spending at the transport hub and president Donald Trump’s flagship Scottish resort.
The Scotsman can reveal the expanded EUCOM Into-plane agreement covering the Scottish Government-owned airport and the US Defence Logistics Agency (DLA), which was due to come into force in a matter of weeks, has been put on hold until December at the earliest.
One source familiar with the deal told The Scotsman it was being “kicked into the long grass” as a result of a newly disclosed investigation by the House Oversight Committee.
It is looking into the US Defence Department’s spending at Prestwick and Mr Trump’s Turnberry resort over concerns of “serious conflicts of interest” and potential violations of the foreign emoluments clause of the US constitution.
As The Scotsman revealed in June, the airport received more than £9.02 million between October 2017 and March this year for fuel orders placed by the DLA, which manages the Us military supply chain. it has received a further £4.8 min the six months since.
The new DLA deal covers not only Prestwick, but a host of European airports as far afield as Estonia, Iceland, Norway and Poland, who supply US military aircraft with fuel.
Documentation obtained by The Scotsman shows the DLA attributes the postponement to issues with the “extensive pre-award process”.
However, sources familiar with the agency’s existing and future agreements with the airport said the controversy engulfing Prestwick, Trump Turnberry and the US Defence Department was directly to blame.
One said: “They don’t think they want to do anything until the Congressional committee’s investigation has concluded.”
A spokeswoman for Prestwick said: “The existing DLA approval has been extended by two months until 30 November, 2019. This is a Europeanwide extension and not specific to the airport location.”
It comes as the Scottish Greens yesterday urged ministers to rule out selling Prestwick to the US military.
Transport secretary Michael Matheson refused to respond to the call, saying that commenting on who might be bidding could “infringe” the sale process. He explained: “I don’t want to be evasive, but I’m trying to protect the process the management team are undertaking, so I am not going to enter into any speculation about any potential purchase or purchaser of the airport.”
Green Transport spokesperson John Finnie MSP later condemned the response as “scandalous”, adding: “We know Prestwick Airport has facilitated active US military missions and extraordinary rendition flights… the Cabinet secretary’s failure to rule out selling the airport to the US military is absolutely scandalous and leaves open the possibility that such human rights violations could continue unhindered in future.”
Up to three offers are being assessed following the deadline for full bids last Friday. Glasgow Airport has told The Scotsman it did not bid, but Edinburgh Airport has refused to comment.
“The failure to rule out selling the airport to the US military… leaves open the possibility that such human rights violations could continue”
JOHN FINNIE MSP
0 A Beechcraft C12 aircraft with the words “United States of America” on its fuselage takes off from Glasgow Prestwick airport yesterday