HUMZA Yousaf has said the Scottish Government is looking at ways it can prevent Israeli military flights from using a state-owned airport.

In an exclusive interview with National contributor Owen Jones, the First Minister said he was “asking the question” but was constrained by the Government’s “arrangement” with Prestwick Airport – which played host to an Israeli Air Force plane late last year.

He is under pressure from the Greens to prevent a repeat of the episode, which has sparked concern that the Scottish Government inadvertently aided the Israeli military in its brutal campaign against Gaza.

We revealed previously how ministers had failed to raise the issue with Prestwick Airport

READ MORE: Prestwick Airport faces questions after Israeli plane hosted

Asked whether the Scottish Government would try to prevent Israeli military flights from using state-owned Prestwick Airport in future, Yousaf said: “We’re asking the questions about what we legally can and can’t do and I better be careful because there are things that I can do to intervene and there are things that I’m not able to do as per our arrangement with Prestwick Airport.

The National: Prestwick Airport

“We’re definitely asking the question because I can understand people’s concern and people’s upset.”

He said there were limits to the action that the Scottish Government could take in response to concerns about Prestwick Airport being used by the Israeli military because it is operated as an “arm's-length” organisation.

READ MORE: Scottish Government failed to flag Israeli military flight from Prestwick Airport

This means that while it is owned by the Government, it is run independently.

Yousaf added: “We own the airport and take an arms-length approach to it in terms of its operations, so we will always seek to – once we saw reports of this – we will always seek to have engagement with the airport around its operations and its activity but we do genuinely try to stay hands off.

"That’s not the only company we do that with. With the other, Ferguson Marine, for example, which we own, a shipbuilding company, which we tend to be a bit hands off in that regard.

"I wasn’t aware of that [flight] until it was reported in the press, therefore we’ve asked some questions.”

Prestwick Airport would not say whether it had received any communications from the Scottish Government about Israeli military flights.

A spokesperson said the Israeli military has not used the airport since the flight which took off for Beersheba in November.

The full interview with Owen Jones and Humza Yousaf will be published online and in print on Tuesday.