Glasgow International Airport - General Thread


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Glasgow Airport fills gaps left by Zoom and XL

Glasgow Airport says it has almost filled the gap of 180,000 passengers left by the collapse of Zoom and holiday firm XL. Zoom flew to five Canadian destinations from Glasgow while XL had more than a dozen routes to the Mediterranean and Orlando, Florida. However, Zoom's capacity has been taken up by Canadian Affair and flyglobespan, whilst about 88% of unfilled seats from XL's collapse have been filled by Scottravel and Teleticket, the airport said.

The airport has secured thousands of extra seats for 2009 and is in discussions with other airlines to offer more flights. Canadian Affair will operate 11 flights a week to Toronto Pearson airport plus weekly flights to Calgary and Vancouver, while airline Flyglobespan will also offer flights to Canada. Charter airline Teleticket is providing extra capacity to Dalaman, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Paphos and Alicante, while Turkey holiday specialist Scottravel is laying on extra flights to Dalaman.

Amanda McMillan, Glasgow Airport managing director, said: ‘The loss of Zoom and XL Airways, within weeks of each other, was a significant blow, and came at a difficult time for the airline industry. The credit squeeze and falling demand has seen airlines around the world reduce capacity and ground aircraft in order to save money.'

‘Despite these challenges, we have worked hard to recover the capacity lost, with impressive results. The gap left by Zoom has been completely filled, and we are well on our way to filling the gap in the market left by XL, with a number of existing airlines already confirming increased programmes in 2009, and discussions on further capacity increases continuing.’

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Record numbers of people are flying from Glasgow Airport to go on skiing holidays despite the economic downturn, new figures have shown.

New flights to European ski resorts have seen the number of people flying from Glasgow on ski holidays almost double this winter.

A total of 18,349 skiers have flown from the airport since November - an 85 percent increase from last winter's figure.

New flights were recently launched from Glasgow to Turin, Grenoble and Chambery, while the popularity of existing flights to Geneva and Salzburg have increased.

Glasgow Airport managing director Amanda McMillan said this winter had been "one of our busiest" in terms of the number of people taking ski holidays.

"Despite the recession, the ski market remains particularly buoyant and we're delighted with the success of this year's programme," she said.

"With several weeks left to the end of the winter schedule, we are on track to record our best performance for five years."

A £2 million scheme to install 300 security bollards in front of the airport's main terminal was completed earlier this month.

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Plane quarantined at Glasgow Airport as virus hits three passengers

A PACKED holiday flight was quarantined on the runway at Glasgow Airport yesterday after three passengers took ill.

Around 150 holidaymakers had flown from Barbados after a two-week P&O Caribbean cruise.

They were ordered to stay on board the Thomas Cook jet when it landed at 9am after a female passenger was violently sick.

Doctors diagnosed three passengers with norovirus - also known as the winter vomiting bug - which causes severe sickness and diarrhoea.

They were allowed to go home after receiving treatment.

A Glasgow Airport spokeswoman said: "The outbreak seems confined to the flight to Glasgow.

"Passengers returning from the cruise to London and Manchester were unaffected."

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Glasgow airport down 28 percent on North American capacity

Last year’s collapse of the Canadian airline Zoom has left a major gap in passenger numbers at Glasgow Airport, with North American flight seating capacity down by nearly 28 per cent this year, according to a report in The Herald that was based on booking forecasts.

Figures from the independent consultancy group, RDC Aviation, indicate that scheduled flight capacity from Glasgow will decline by approximately 10.6 per cent in the January to August period this year, as compared with the same eight months in 2008. Aberdeen airport will also see a drop in capacity, by 6.5 per cent, but Edinburgh will see a growth of five per cent.

The forecasts are based on capacity information provided by the airlines, and indicate how serious the problems are for Glasgow airport. Glasgow is experiencing a decline in passenger traffic that is both economy-driven and a result of the collapse of its charter market.

BAA, which owns Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, insists that Canadian routes have largely been replaced by other airlines adding new services. RDC says, however, that figures show fewer seats available on those routes.

The RDC figures show that Glasgow’s most significant decline in seat numbers is on US and Canada services, where there is a 28 per cent decrease in scheduled capacity for the January-August period this year.

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Manchester group eyes Glasgow bid

Manchester Airports Group is planning to bid for Glasgow airport if it is sold off as expected by BAA.

The group, which is already in the bidding for Gatwick, believes all three airports have a similar customer profile and would fit well in one group.

The Competition Commission last week gave BAA two years to sell Glasgow or Edinburgh as well as Gatwick and Stansted.

MAG is one of the last three bidders for Gatwick. Its bid is attracting support from the trade – many in the industry believe it has done a good job of cutting queues.

Glasgow is thought more likely to be put up for sale than Edinburgh, and MAG believes Glasgow’s high volume of charter flights and leisure passengers compared with business traffic would complement its operations at Manchester and, potentially, Gatwick. `

Manchester has teamed up with Canadian infrastructure fund Borealis to bid for Gatwick. The bid faces competition from financial fund Global Infrastructure Partners, which owns 75% of London City airport, and Lysander Gatwick Investment, which owns Chicago airport.

The commission found that BAA’s ownership of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted prevented competition in south-east England, and the group’s ownership of Glasgow and Edinburgh prevented competition in central Scotland.

The independent public body’s findings were welcomed by airlines, which said it would bring better service and lower fares.

BAA has two months to appeal against the ruling and has indicated it may do so.

The group said the commission’s analysis was “flawed” and that finding a buyer for three airports in two years might be “impractical in current economic conditions”.

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That seem odd, they gave it up two weeks ago and now they restart it? Seems like a typical bmi knee jerk reaction.
 

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More likely they had a more profitable route for the aircraft out of CWL in the summer but have resumed the GLA for the winter when options are more limited. Must say though it does seem an odd decision.
 

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Glasgow Airport seeks English passengers

Glasgow Airport has launched a campaign to try to boost the number of people travelling from northern England to catch its flights. The initiative will focus specifically on people based in Carlisle in north-west England who are planning to set off on a family holiday this year, pointing out that Glasgow Airport is closer to Carlisle than Manchester Airport - where people from the north-west regularly go to catch flights.

The campaign also points out that Glasgow can offer cheaper flights as a result of the differences between the school holiday periods in Scotland and England. Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: ‘Typically, a family of four could save hundreds of pounds on their summer holiday if they fly from Glasgow airport during August or September. With cheaper holidays, cheaper parking and a shorter journey time from Carlisle, it makes financial sense to fly from Glasgow.’

Of course the reverse can be true for Scottish passengers in the early summer period, when those in the Boarders regularly travel to English airports to get a cheaper flight in the period before the English schools break up.

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A large proportion of passengers travel South of the border to catch flights. Although the press article mentions Manchester Airport , Scots make up a sizable chunk of passengers travelling from Newcastle airport. The Department for Transport highlighted in the White Paper for airports that this was a potential future problem for Newcastle airport. As more flight options become available from Scotland, passengers will slowly get clawed back to the Scottish airports. A reduction in passenger numbers at Newcastle airport started to become apparent many months before the recession hit other UK airports which suggests the process of clawback has already begone.
 

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Fire nearly closed Glasgow Airport

Glasgow Airport was nearly closed after a major blaze in Renfrew obstructed flight paths earlier this week, the Gazette reports. More than 4,500 holidaymakers could have been hit if a crisis meeting by BAA staff had made the decision to close the hub. The thick black smoke from a scrap yard fire on Meadowside Street caused slight delays to air traffic but eventually did not spark the closure of the airport.

Crews from Renfrew and Paisley battled through the night to extinguish the huge blaze which was still being put out on Monday, with 14 pumps and 70 firefighters at the scene. A Strathclyde Fire and Rescue spokesperson told the newspaper: ‘Due to the size and severity, additional resources were requested to help with the fire. At its height, there were more than 70 firefighters and 14 tenders at the scene.’

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[textarea]Glasgow Airport hero Smeato marries

Glasgow Airport car bomb hero John Smeaton - affectionately known as Smeato - has married his American girlfriend Christy MacPhedran at a historic Scots castle. Living with his parents and on a fag break at the time of the attack, he helped tackle the car bombers then famously told TV cameras 'We’re ne havin this. This is Scotland. We’ll see about ya.’

The couple met when he was on a trip to New York after the attack. They wed in a candle-lit ceremony in the chapel at Balgonie Castle near Markinch, in Fife. After the ceremony he said: ‘It might well be raining but this is the happiest day of my life. I thought I'd be nervous but I was remarkably calm. We've not really planned a honeymoon as such. We're just going to do some family stuff and maybe get away for a couple of days and visit some whisky distilleries up north.’

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We're just going to do some family stuff and maybe get away for a couple of days and visit some whisky distilleries up north.’
Thant's sounds like a plan! Congratulations to him and his new wife.
 

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[textarea]Investigation in to Glasgow runway lights failure

Four planes were forced to halt landing attempts at Glasgow Airport after lights failed on its runway, the Daily Record reports. A blackout at the airport meant aircraft had to circle as engineers rushed to try to fix the fault. It is now investigating the scares, which also halted outbound flights.

The drama happened around 21:00 on Monday. A spokesman for BAA said they had no idea what caused the fault, which also affected the guide lights across the whole of the airport's tarmac. He said: ‘Air traffic control switched the lights on, they went on full boom, then they dimmed and went out. As a result of that, our engineers switched to a manual system in line with our contingency plans. During this time, there were four arriving aircraft which were held in the air for a short time.’

The spokesman said the runway lights were back on at 21:25, but the lights on the taxi-way were off until 21:40. He added: ‘We are carrying out an investigation. At no stage, were there any aircraft at risk. If they were unable to fix the lighting system, the aircraft would have been diverted to another airport, probably Edinburgh.’

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This sounds serious. I wonder what happened to the airports back-up systems?
 

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[textarea]Glasgow Airport could close terminal this winter

Glasgow Airport is considering closing one of its terminals over the winter to cut costs. BAA are holding talks with airlines over the possibility of shutting Terminal Two (T2) at Glasgow Airport for a few weeks during the quieter winter season.

A BAA spokesman told the BBC the closure of T2 was one of ‘a range of options’ being looked at. The terminal has been used as a check-in area for low-cost airline easyJet since it opened five years ago to deal with the main terminal's overspill.

Spokesman Donald Morrison said: ‘Like any private business, Glasgow airport must control its costs - particularly during times of recession - so that it remains competitive. We are currently looking at a range of options to reduce costs over the quieter winter months, when we traditionally have fewer passengers. However, we are still in discussion with airlines and nothing has been agreed at this stage.’

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I would imagine that Glasgow wont be the only airport considering this type of move during the course of the winter season. This winter will be the quietest winter for many years for most airports around the UK. Hopefully next winter will see a start to the recovery.
 

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There was some talk on the forum dedicated to Welsh aviation that CWL might close for parts of the week in the coming winter but it seems very unlikely.
 

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[textarea]Is Flyglobespan demise a fatal blow for Glasgow Airport?

THE collapse of Flyglobespan could be the latest pocket of turbulence to hit Glasgow Airport that sees it fall further behind its soaraway rival in Edinburgh.

Glasgow is much more reliant on the holidaymaker flights that the Scots carrier provided before its collapse.

It comes just weeks after the Scottish Government scrapped a plan to build a dedicated rail link to the Glasgow terminal.

And BAA - who own all of Scotland's international airports - are facing a demand to sell off either Glasgow or Edinburgh to meet competition rules.

Company figures show that Edinburgh is not only larger and busier but it's also attracting more investment.

Now business and political leaders are expressing their fears over Glasgow Airport.

Jim Sheridan, the Labour MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said: "There is some concern as to the long-term future as a result of Globespan which follows the decision by the SNP not to invest in the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL).

"Management at Glasgow Airport assure me that it continues to be a profit-making business, which heavily invests in its infrastructure.

"Flyglobespan's collapse is awful news and the airport's thoughts are with staff and passengers, but they stress that out of the 12 destinations covered, 11 are being served by bigger airlines."

Iain McMillan, the Chief Executive of bosses' organisation CBI Scotland, also spoke up for the GARL link, saying: "It would provide a fast link between Glasgow Airport and the city, ease congestion and provide a much-needed boost to the construction sector."

However, the differences between Glasgow and Edinburgh are clear and the gap is widening.

Until the collapse of Flyglobespan, Glasgow was handling 8.1million passengers a year, travelling on 30 airlines.

But Edinburgh has nine million passengers and over 40 airlines.

Glasgow has 250 flights a day, but Edinburgh, with its double runways, has 300. And at Edinburgh the business flyer makes up a higher percentage of its travellers.

The capital terminal is also soaking up a larger share of investment from BAA, who is appealing the decision from the Competition Commission, insisting that they want to keep operating both airports.

And of course, Edinburgh is in the process of building its own long-awaited tram service that would connect straight into city centre.

It's just one more thing that could give Edinburgh the edge over Glasgow.

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[textarea]Glasgow Airport aim to reduce noise even further

BOSSES at Glasgow Airport have announced plans to bring the sound of silence to scores of Renfrewshire residents living under its flightpath.

People who suffer from the roaring noise of aircraft flying overhead are to be offered insulation measures to reduce the disturbance to their peace and quiet.

The new Noise Insulation Scheme and increased support for community regeneration is part of a commitment to operate the airport in a responsible and sustainable manner.

Details have been outlined in a public consultation which has been launched across communities close to the airport’s flight path.

Airport bosses have made real progress in tackling noise pollution in recent years, with a comprehensive package of measures already in place, including a Noise and Track Keeping System to monitor aircraft noise, fines for airlines which breach agreed noise thresholds, voluntary day and night-time noise limits and a freephone noise action line for concerned residents.

As a result, studies produced by the Civil Aviation Authority show that the noise footprint around the airport has shrunk and is now half the size it was in 1990.

In practice, fewer households are now troubled by aircraft noise, even though the airport has grown significantly.

However, after carrying out a review, airport bosses believe it is right to take further action – even in the grip of the worst aviation downturn for more than a decade.

Amanda McMillan, the airport’s managing director, said: “Glasgow Airport is a massive economic contributor for the West of Scotland and generates thousands of jobs locally.

“It is vital that we continue to develop the airport and attract new business and employment opportunities.

“However, we must also balance the need for growth against the interests of those who live closest to the airport and who are affected by its future development.

“Most people understand that a busy airport generates noise. We cannot make that noise go away, nor can we realistically provide noise insulation for every household under the airport flight path.

“Independent studies show that the noise footprint around Glasgow Airport has shrunk as a result of the action we and our airline partners have taken over recent years.

“Nevertheless, we are committed to taking further action.”

The Noise Insulation Scheme will benefit residential properties within the 66-decibel contour area set by the UK air regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority.

This proposal brings Glasgow Airport into line with similar schemes already in place at Gatwick and Stansted airports and soon to be introduced at Edinburgh.

Local MPs and MSPs have long called for Glasgow Airport to offer the same protection as that enjoyed by residents living close to BAA’s London airports.

However, as few properties fall within this area at Glasgow Airport, the plan goes further than other airports, with a second proposal to establish a new ‘Flightpath Fund’ to oversee the distribution of community funding which is set to rise to around £150,000 this year.

Membership of the independent funding body will be drawn from community representatives from Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire and Glasgow.

Copies of the public consultation are being sent to local MPs, MSPs, councillors, community councils, libraries and community centres.

Renfrewshire residents can take part in the consultation by downloading the proposals at www.glasgowairport.com/flightpath

Copies of the consultation document can also be viewed at local libraries and community centres.

The deadline for submissions is Sunday, January 31.

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[textarea]Glasgow Airport 'more likely' to be sold as trade lags Edinburgh

PRESSURE on BAA to sell Glasgow Airport is set to intensify after new figures revealed it is lagging behind Edinburgh in winning new airlines and passengers.

While Scotland's capital has managed to fill the gap left by the collapse of Scottish airline Flyglobespan, Glasgow is said to be struggling to replace the lost business.

A spokesman for Edinburgh said new routes and extra flights added by air carriers this month, including Ryanair and Jet2, had replaced the 400,000 passengers a year going through the airport on Flyglobespan.

Glasgow Airport, however, had a larger number of Flyglobespan customers, more than 550,000, leaving it struggling to fill the deficit. A source said Glasgow would find it "difficult to get other carriers to commit to backfilling" this year. Both airports have made progress in expanding routes.

In Glasgow, Thomas Cook, Thomson Holidays and First Choice have announced extra capacity on Mediterranean routes while Virgin Atlantic confirmed an extra seven summer flights to Florida.

But Glasgow lost out when Ryanair added three new routes and extra flights on 16 others from Edinburgh and Prestwick.

Ian Doubtfire, managing director of Jet2.com, which announced a 14th route from Edinburgh to Palma, Majorca, last week, said there was "no reason why we couldn't" expand in Glasgow but that the airline preferred maintaining its focus on Edinburgh.

"We see Edinburgh as a market we can develop," said Doubtfire. "It has been a fast growing airport over the past few years, it is a very attractive inbound destination so we will continue to service Edinburgh for the time being."

BAA, which owns both airports, will reveal its annual results tomorrow, releasing new figures on its level of debt. Last September BAA had a debt burden of £13 billion. This will have been reduced following the £1.5bn sale of Gatwickand a complex refinancing which reduced its Spanish owner Ferrovial's stake in the business from 61 per cent to 56 per cent. In January, analysts warned Ferrovial was at risk of a possible default on its debt.

In December, the Competition Appeal Tribunal upheld BAA's appeal against the Competition Commission's ruling that it would have to sell Stansted as well as either Edinburgh or Glasgow. The commission itself has launched a counter appeal.

John Strickland, an aviation analyst, said BAA had merely won a delay in the process and that the company's debt load would require the sale of airports whether the Competition Commission won its case or not.

"It guarantees as least a delay, but given their debt position we will still see those airports sold," said Strickland.

Stuart Barwood, an aviation analyst with Brolin Consulting, said Edinburgh's improving business made Glasgow the sale target.

"My gut feel is they (BAA] will want to keep Edinburgh," said Barwood. "The one thing Edinburgh has is a good inbound destination. You get the high yielding passengers going through Edinburgh rather than Glasgow. Glasgow is much more Scottish people flying outbound. Edinburgh has a combination of two-way traffic which you need."

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Sadly one of reasons why Edinburgh has increased it's compliment of flights over the years has been because of the way the Scottish Government has handed out subsidies to fund new routes from Edinburgh Airport. Three years ago both airports were level pegging, what position would Edinburgh airport be in today had so many flights not received these subsidies.
 

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[textarea]Glasgow Airport showcase musicians

Aspiring musicians are to be given the chance to perform at Glasgow Airport, in front of thousands of people. A series of ‘Airplay’ sessions will be held during the summer peak holiday season in the terminal building to give bands and solo acts the chance to entertain travellers. Highlights of the sessions will be posted online with a prize of £1,000 going to the best act.

The competition aims to highlight Glasgow's status as a United Nations (UN) City of Music, awarded in 2008 because of its rich musical heritage. The honour acknowledges the city's musical past and its role in music-making, performance and enjoyment.

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: ‘Our Airplay sessions are a fantastic platform for young musicians, and we're delighted to play our part in support of Glasgow as the City of Music. Information on the competition is available by emailing flightpath@baa.com.'

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I think this the same thing that BAA did at London Gatwick where the X-Factor contestants that failed went on to perform in front of passengers.
 
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