The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Glasgow Prestwick Airport unveils its exciting vision for growth

By: Neil Richardson

Glasgow Prestwick Airport has today (Wednesday 29 October) laid out an exciting vision for growth and development spanning the next 25 years.

The Ayrshire airport’s draft Master Plan outlines passenger and freight growth forecasts and trends, infrastructure development and transport requirements.

It also examines the impact of growth in terms of economic, environmental, social and sustainability issues.

The draft Master Plan predicts that Glasgow Prestwick will more than double its passenger throughput in the next decade, handling 5.7 million passengers in 2018 and approximately 12 million in 2033.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive Mark Rodwell explained: “We expect to gain a greater share of the Scottish market, and our growth will provide more travel opportunities, deliver more visitors, and create more business opportunities and jobs.

“Our growth predictions are based on the greater of three possible growth scenarios, and it assumes that a number of business opportunities come to fruition, as well as new developments in the domestic, European and long haul markets.

“The need for future infrastructure development is also a factor in choosing the high growth scenario, as we do not wish to be constrained in future by forecasts we make today.”

In order to meet predicted passenger growth, the airport will develop the main terminal building and provide more car parking spaces.

The draft Master Plan also predicts that freight volume will grow at an average of 4% per year over the same period. Under this scenario the airport will handle approximately 50,000 tonnes of freight in 2018 and 100,000 tonnes in 2033.

While it is certain there will be a need to upgrade the existing apron and taxiway facilities as the number of aircraft movements increases, the current runway infrastructure will be sufficient to handle the growth referred to in the draft Master Plan.

Better transport links to the airport, particularly road and rail, will be needed as passenger usage grows, and these issues are thoroughly examined in the document.

Mark Rodwell added: “At the moment more than 20% of our passengers travel to and from the airport by rail, but we believe that with improvements to the service this can rise to more than 30%, and that is our aim.

“For that to happen we will need longer trains and platforms, more trains every hour, a full refurbishment of our railway station and an increase in operating hours to cover early morning and late night services not currently catered for by public transport.”

The draft Master Plan has been developed in the context of the policies and legislation that govern airport operations, security and design, as well as local and national planning and environmental frameworks.

Mark Rodwell concluded: “We are confident that the airport will continue to play a crucial part in the economic, tourism and business sectors of Ayrshire and Scotland.

“Environmental and planning issues are a major consideration for any business, and we believe this draft Master Plan not only lays out how we plan to grow, but also how we will minimise any adverse impacts of growth.”

“Environmental and planning issues are a major consideration for any business, and we believe this draft Master Plan not only lays out how we plan to grow, but also how we will minimise any adverse impacts of growth.”

[Hugh Hunter, Leader of South Ayrshire Council (left) and Mark Rodwell, chief executive of Glasgow Prestwick Airport, pictured at the launch of the Airport's Draft Master Plan.]

Hugh Hunter, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, commented: “We have a very strong relationship with the airport, which has been built on sound foundations over many years, and we share many of the same goals.

“This draft Master Plan clearly lays out the direction in which the airport wishes to go, and the goals it wants to achieve.”

He added: “South Ayrshire is a great place to live, and a fantastic tourist destination. Infratil’s investment in the airport has shown huge confidence in South Ayrshire, and this is further evidence of that.

“By working together, hopefully we can achieve even greater things for South Ayrshire.”

John Scott MSP for Ayr (pictured above) commented: “The draft Masterplan outlines a positive and exciting future for Prestwick Airport, and with predictions of a doubling of passenger numbers over the next decade it is clear that the airport will continue to be one of the lynchpins of our economy here in Ayrshire.”

“The view expressed in the draft Masterplan that improvements must be made to road and rail links to the airport is one that I am strongly supportive of, and indeed I have for many years been arguing that to support the airport, and to provide a better service to local commuters, a 20-minute rail service between Ayr and Glasgow is essential. I believe the case for such a service is strengthened by the release of the draft Masterplan, and I will be continuing to press for this improvement.”

The document is now subject to an eight week consultation period when members of the public and key stakeholders can have their say on the contents.

It can be viewed online at CD copies and a limited number of hard copies are also available and a series of presentations will take place where the community can view the plans and meet the airport’s representatives.

The closing date for responses to the draft Master Plan is December 19. Following the consultation period, the airport will consider the responses before releasing the final Master Plan in early 2009.


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