Glasgow & West Scotland

Call for action on Glasgow Airport transport links

Glasgow Airport terminal
Image caption The report said Glasgow Airport handled £3.5bn in global trade in 2017

Glasgow Airport bosses have called for urgent action to improve transport links with the city centre.

Managing director Mark Johnston said the airport was the only one of its size in Europe reliant on road access amid worsening congestion on the M8.

He is due to meet Scotland's transport secretary this week to press for progress on the issue.

It comes as a new report said the airport contributed £1.44bn to the economy and supported 30,000 jobs.

The airport consultancy firm York Aviation also said the airport handled £3.5bn in global imports and exports in 2017 and that passenger numbers were projected to almost double from 9.7 million to 17 million a year.

'Something needs to happen'

However, bosses warned that improved transport links were crucial to its future success.

The most recent plans to connect Glasgow Airport to the rail network faltered in 2017 amid concern about their economic impact to existing infrastructure.

But Mr Johnston told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "We're the only airport in Europe that has road as its only means of access.

"The recent studies have shown that the congestion is only increasing on the M8. We have the funding available through the City Deal, so I think there's a genuine acceptance that something needs to happen."

Mr Johnston said he was due to attend a meeting later this week with Transport Secretary Michael Matheson and local council leaders.

He added: "There's an acceptance now that something needs to happen. As I say, we're the only airport now without some kind of connectivity like that. We want to grow, we have plans for growth, the M8 is becoming more congested so we need action."

Image copyright Glasgow Airport
Image caption Emirates will begin operating its A380 service from April

The report said Glasgow Airport's contribution to the economy could rise to £2.57bn by 2040 and that it had the potential to support 43,000 jobs by 2040.

'Knock-on effect'

As part of the investment into facilities, £8m is currently being invested to upgrade the airport ahead of Emirates operating a Dubai service - on the world's largest commercial aircraft, the A380 - from April.

A new advanced manufacturing innovation district by the airport is also estimated to create up to 10,000 additional jobs.

Two tenants have already been confirmed in the £56m medical manufacturing innovation centre and the £65m national manufacturing institute for Scotland.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay, also MSP for Renfrewshire North and West where the airport is based, said: "Renfrewshire benefits hugely from having Glasgow Airport on our doorstep, forming a vital part of our local community.

"The economic growth and jobs the airport brings to the local area, and to the wider west of Scotland region, is massive and has had a huge positive knock-on effect throughout Renfrewshire and the surrounding areas."

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