Prestwick airport has passed into public ownership after being bought by the Scottish government for £1.

The airport, which was put up for sale last year by New Zealand firm Infratil, has incurred annual losses of £2 million.

It is expected the airport will continue to operate as normal and there will be no job losses. The deal was understood to have been concluded on Friday, the BBC reported.

Scotland’s deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the deal would help protect the airport and the jobs it supported.

She told BBC Scotland that work would now begin for “turning Prestwick around and making it a viable enterprise”.

She said: “It’s a good decision and I’m glad we’ve reached this outcome, because it allows us to protect not just the asset of Prestwick Airport but the jobs that directly and indirectly depend on it.”

The full terms of the agreement with Infratil and the Scottish government’s business plan for the Ayrshire facility are to be made public at a later date.

Sturgeon added: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly.

“We would have preferred to see a private company buy Prestwick airport, but the strategic and economic importance of Prestwick is such that we weren’t prepared to see it close.”

The deputy first minister said the government would run the airport on “a commercial basis” and do everything it could to return it to profit as soon as possible.

She said the long-term goal was to return it to private ownership but said, realistically, it may take “some time” to have the airport running profitably.