2005-07-26

Scottish Airport Expansion Plans

A radical revamp of Scotland's largest airport was unveiled yesterday that will include a major expansion and significant changes to the main terminal building. A glass-fronted railway station could be incorporated into the enlarged 'Glasgow Airport' complex by 2009 to cope with soaring passenger numbers. The 250_million_GBP plan also includes extending the 'check-in hall', with the 'domestic baggage reclaim' area moved to the west side of the building. The front of the terminal will be brought out as far as the multi-storey car park, with a second car park built within ten years. The details are part of a blueprint published by 'BAA Scotland', the airport's operator, to accommodate an expected increase in passengers from 8.7_million to between 12_million and 14_million by 2015, and up to 24_million by 2030. A second terminal could even be created by 2015, although 'BAA Scotland' said it would duplicate resources. Space for a second runway has been set aside, although 'BAA Scotland' believes that this will not be required 'for a very long time', if at all. The government said in 2003 that there was no clear case for one. The airport's 5_500 workforce is projected to rise to 8_200 in ten years and to 12_100 by 2030. The rail link from 'Glasgow Central', expected to be completed by early 2009, would include track curving into a first-floor airport station at the southern end of the existing multi-storey car park. Passengers would transfer to the terminal on 'travellators' along the eastern edge of the car park, with a new bridge over the current vehicle forecourt. The first stage of the expansion of the airport, which celebrates its 40th birthday next year, is a 6_million_GBP extension of The International Wing, which will be completed this autumn (2005). The 'check-in hall' expansion and reconfiguration of the terminal to bring domestic and international baggage together is expected to follow within five years. Vehicle access would be restricted to road loops at either end of the terminal, with links to the M8 motorway improved. By 2015, a second International 'pier' will be added to the west of the terminal to accommodate more aircraft. Glasgow Airport's Managing Director Mr.Stephen Baxter, said he aimed to keep Glasgow 'top of the pile', even though Edinburgh Airport is forecast to outgrow it. He said:
'We have ten times as many "long-haul" passengers than any other airport in Scotland, and that's what we intend to focus on.'
'BAA Scotland's' Managing Director Mr.Donal Dowds, conceded that the expansion would come at a price:
'There is no such thing as a silent, successful airport; it does have an impact on the local community.'
The airport's 'masterplan' says a balance has to be struck between the environmental impact of aviation and its benefits, such as providing jobs. 'BAA Scotland's' Managing Director said new security equipment, including 'X-ray machines', to detect explosives and non-metallic ammunition, was being tested at some of 'BAA's' other airports. 'Glasgow Airport rolls out future as revamp unveiled', Alastair Dalton, The Scotsman, 2005-07-26 Tu Links: BAA Highlands & Islands airports Prestwick Airport

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