Glasgow Airport

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Code IATA: GLA, ICAO: EGPF
County Renfrewshire
Public
Location NS477662
55°51’54"N, 4°26’5"W

Glasgow Airport, also known as Glasgow International Airport, is an international airport in Renfrewshire, located seven miles (six nautical miles) west of Glasgow city centre. In 2014 the airport handled over 7.7 million passengers, a 4.8% annual increase, making it the eighth-busiest airport in the United Kingdom. It is the primary airport serving Glasgow and its conurbation and is the principal transatlantic and direct longhaul entry airport into northern Britain.

The airport is owned and operated by AGS Airports which also owns and operates Aberdeen and Southampton Airports. It was previously owned and operated by Heathrow Airport Holdings (formerly known as BAA).[1] The airport's largest tenants are British Airways and Loganair (currently franchising using Flybe), the latter using it as a hub. Other major airlines using GLA as a base include Flybe, EasyJet, Jet2, Thomas Cook Airlines and Thomson Airways.

Glasgow Airport was first opened in 1966 and originally flights only operated to other places in the United Kingdom and Europe. The British Airports Authority (BAA) took control of the airport in 1975 and when BAA was privatised in the 1980s, Glasgow Airport began to offer flights to other places around the world, flights which previously used Prestwick Airport, which was subsequently relegated as the city's secondary airport catering for low-cost airlines, freight and charter operators.

History

The history of the present Glasgow Airport goes back to 1932, when the site at Abbotsinch, between the Black Cart Water and the White Cart Water, near Paisley in Renfrewshire, was opened and the Royal Air Force 602 Squadron (City of Glasgow) Auxiliary Air Force moved its Wapiti IIA aircraft from nearby Renfrew in January 1933.[2] The RAF Station HQ, however, was not formed until 1 July 1936 when 6 Auxiliary Group, Bomber Command, arrived.[2] From May 1939, until moving away in October 1939, the Squadron flew the Supermarine Spitfire.

1940

In 1940, a torpedo training unit was formed, which trained both RAF and Royal Navy crews.[2] On 11 August 1943 Abbotsinch was handed over solely to the Royal Navy and it became a naval base. All Her Majesty's Ships and naval bases are given ship names and Abbotsinch's was known as HMS Sanderling since June 1940.[2] During the 1950s, the airfield housed a large aircraft storage unit and squadrons of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

The Royal Navy left in October 1963.[2] The name Sanderling was however retained as a link between the two: HMS Sanderling's ship's bell was presented to the new airport and a bar in the airport was named The Sanderling Bar.

1960s

In the 1960s, the Glasgow Corporation decided that a new airport for the city was required. The original site of Glasgow's main airport was two miles east of Abbotsinch, in what is now the Dean Park area of Renfrew. The original Art Deco terminal building of Renfrew Airport has not survived. The site is now occupied by a Tesco supermarket and the M8 motorway; this straight and level section of motorway occupies the site of the runway.[3]

Abbotsinch took over from Renfrew airport on 2 May 1966.[2][3] The Government had already committed millions into rebuilding Prestwick Airport fit for the "jet age". Nevertheless, the plan went forward and the new airport, designed by Basil Spence and built at a cost of £4.2 million, was completed in 1966, with British European Airways beginning services using De Havilland Comet aircraft.

The first commercial flight to arrive was a British European Airways flight from Edinburgh, landing at 8 am on 2 May 1966. The airport was officially opened on 27 June 1966 by Queen Elizabeth II. The political rows over Glasgow and Prestwick airports continued, with Prestwick enjoying a monopoly over transatlantic traffic, while Glasgow Airport was only allowed to handle UK and intra-European traffic.

1970s to 1990s

Airside

In 1975, the BAA took ownership of Glasgow Airport. When BAA was privatised in the late 1980s, as BAA plc, it consolidated its airport portfolio and sold Prestwick Airport. The restrictions on Glasgow Airport were lifted and the transatlantic operators immediately moved from Prestwick, Glasgow Airport being renamed Glasgow International Airport. BAA embarked on a massive redevelopment plan for Glasgow International Airport in 1989.

An extended terminal building was created by building a pre-fabricated metal structure around the front of the original Basil Spence building, screening much of its distinctive Brutalist style architecture from view, with the void between the two structures joined by a glass atrium and walkway. Spence's original concrete facade which once looked onto Caledonia Road now fronts the check-in desks. The original building can be seen more clearly from the rear, with the mock barrel vaulted roof visible when airside.

A dedicated international departure lounge and pier was added at the western side of the building, leaving the facility with a total of 38 gates, bringing its capacity up to nine million passengers per year. In 2003, BAA completed redevelopment work on a satellite building (called "T2", formerly the St. Andrews Building), in order to provide a dedicated check-in facility for low cost airlines, principally Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Thomas Cook Airlines.

By 1996, Glasgow was handling over 5.5 million passengers per annum, making it the fourth largest airport in the UK.[4]

Today

Tail fins at the international pier

The terminal has three piers: West (International), Central (Domestic) and East (Low-cost, Ireland & Scottish islands).

The Central Pier, which was part of the original 1966 building, is now used for domestic destinations. British Airways is based in the 1971 extension to the end of the pier, with Heathrow and Gatwick shuttles making up most of its traffic. There is a BA Executive Club lounge. Flybe also use the Central Pier.

The East Pier, constructed in the mid-1970s, was originally used for international flights but in recent years has been redeveloped for use by EasyJet and Loganair as well as some charters. Most flights to Northern Ireland and to the Republic of Ireland also use this pier. None of the stands on this pier are provided with airbridges. The major users of this pier are Aer Lingus, Loganair and EasyJet.

The West Pier, built as part of the 1989 extension project, is the principal international and long haul departure point, with some gates capable of handling Boeing 747 aircraft. The largest aircraft currently regularly using the airport are the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER. On 10 April 2014, the airport for the first time hosted the Airbus A380 on a special one-off Emirates flight to Dubai to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the route.[5]

Work commenced in late 2007,[6] on Skyhub (located between the Main Terminal and Terminal 2)[7] which created a single, purpose-built security screening area in place of the previous individual facilities for each of the three piers, the other side effect being an enlargened duty-free shopping area created by taking most of the previous landside shopping and restaurant facilities airside. This new arrangement also frees up space in the departure lounges through the removal of the separate duty-free shops in the West and Central Piers. The side effect of this however is that the former public viewing areas of the apron are now airside, making the airport inaccessible to aviation enthusiasts and spectators.

Further growth is hampered by the airport's location, which is constrained by the M8 motorway to the south, the town of Renfrew to the east and the River Clyde to the north. At present the areas of Clydebank, Bearsden and Linwood all sit directly underneath the approach paths into the airport, meaning that further increases in traffic may be politically sensitive. The facility has also been challenged in recent years from Edinburgh Airport, which now serves wider range of European routes, growing to overtake Glasgow as Scotland's busiest airport although Glasgow retains the edge on transatlantic and long haul routes thanks to its longer runway which can accommodate very large aircraft such as the Boeing 777 and Airbus A340. In 2002 it was announced that a rail line - known as the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) - would be built from Glasgow Central station to Glasgow Airport. The rail link was to be completed by 2012 with the first trains running early in 2013, but in 2009 it was announced that the plan had been cancelled.[8]

Currently, the airport is easily accessed by road due to the adjoining M8 motorway and is served by a frequent and dedicated express bus (the "Glasgow Flyer") from the city centre. The service is run by First Glasgow under contract to BAA.

The airport is home to the Scottish regional airline Loganair, currently a Flybe franchise operator, who have their head office located on site.[9] British Airways has a maintenance hangar at the airport, capable of carrying out overhaul work on Airbus A320 family|Airbus A320, as well as a cargo facility.

The Royal Air Force also has a unit based within the airport - The Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde Air Squadron - to provide flying training to university students who plan to join the RAF.

In 2007, Glasgow became the second busiest airport in Scotland as passenger numbers were surpassed by those at Edinburgh Airport.

Icelandair temporarily moved its base of operations from Keflavík International Airport to Glasgow due to the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull.

In October 2014, Heathrow Airport Holdings reached an agreement to sell the airport, together with Southampton and Aberdeen, to a consortium of Ferrovial and Macquarie Group for £1 billion.[10]

Statistics

Passenger traffic at Glasgow Airport peaked in 2006 when over 8.8 million passengers passed through the airport. Numbers subsequently declined until 2010, with 6.5 million passengers that year, but have since increased to nearly 7.4 million in 2013.

Accidents and incidents

  • On 3 September 1999, a Cessna 404 carrying nine Airtours staff from Glasgow to Aberdeen on a transfer flight, crashed minutes after take off near the town of Linwood, Renfrewshire. Eight people were killed and three seriously injured. No one on the ground was hurt. A fatal accident inquiry into the accident later found that the aircraft developed an engine malfunction during take off. Although the captain decided to return to the airfield, he mistakenly identified the working engine as the faulty one and shut it down, causing the aircraft to crash.
  • On 30 June 2007, a day after the failed car bomb attacks in London, an attack was made at Glasgow International Airport: a flaming Jeep Cherokee was driven into the entrance of Terminal 1. Two men, one alight, fled the vehicle before being apprehended by a combination of police officers, airport security officers and witnesses. One of the men died in the following months due to injuries sustained in the attack

Outside links

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References

Notes
References
  1. "Who we are". Heathrow Airport Holdings. 2013. http://www.baa.com/about-baa/who-we-are. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Smith, Abbotsinch
  3. 3.0 3.1 Smith, Renfrew
  4. "Terminal & Transit Passengers at UK Airports - 1996". UK Civil Aviation Authority. 1996. http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/80/airport_data/1996Annual/Table_09_Terminal_and_Transit_Pax_1996.pdf. 
  5. BBC News. "A380 flight marks 10 years of Emirates at Glasgow". BBC News. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-26157751. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  6. Glasgow Airport (29 October 2007). "Skyhub ready for take-off as construction phase begins". Press release. Archived from the original on 27 February 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080227050447/http://www.glasgowairport.com/portal/page/GLA%5EAbout%20BAA%20Glasgow%5EMedia%20Centre%5ENews%20Releases%5EResults/785663f5e1ce5110VgnVCM10000036821c0a____/a22889d8759a0010VgnVCM200000357e120a____/. Retrieved 30 October 2007. 
  7. Glasgow Airport (8 May 2007). "Glasgow Airport aiming sky high with £30m expansion". Press release. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071027033350/http://www.glasgowairport.com/portal/controller/dispatcher.jsp?CiID=81e425f2c9152110VgnVCM10000036821c0a____&ChID=2170453e491d3010VgnVCM10000036821c0a____&Ct=B2C_CT_PRESS_RELEASE&CtID=a22889d8759a0010VgnVCM200000357e120a____&ChPath=Home^GLA^Glasgow+Press+Releases. Retrieved 30 October 2007. 
  8. "Ministers scrap airport rail plan". BBC News. 17 September 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8256474.stm. 
  9. "Statutory Information". Loganair. http://www.loganair.co.uk/contacts/statutory. Retrieved 20 May 2009. "Registered Office: St. Andrews Drive, Glasgow Airport PAISLEY Renfrewshire PA3 2TG" 
  10. "Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports sold in £1bn deal". BBC News. 16 October 2014. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-29650438. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
Bibliography
  • McCloskey, Keith. Glasgow's Airports: Renfrew and Abbotsinch. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: The History Press Ltd., 2009. ISBN 978-0-7524-5077-3.
  • Smith, David J. Action Stations, Volume 7: Military airfields of Scotland, the North-East and Northern Ireland. Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, UK: Patrick Stephens Ltd., 1983 ISBN 0-85059-563-0