Glasgow International Airport

Glasgow International Airport

Infobox Airport
name = Glasgow International Airport
nativename = Port-adhair Eadar-nàiseanta Ghlaschu

type = Public
owner-oper = BAA
operator =
city-served = Glasgow
location = Paisley, Renfrewshire [ BAA Glasgow: Contact Us] ]
elevation-f = 26
elevation-m = 8
coordinates = coord|55|52|19|N|004|25|59|W|type:airport|display=inline
website = []
r1-number = 05/23
r1-length-f = 8,720
r1-length-m = 2,658
r1-surface = Grooved Asphalt
r2-number = 09/27
r2-length-f = 3,622
r2-length-m = 1,104
r2-surface = Asphalt
stat-year = 2007
stat1-header = Aircraft Movements
stat1-data = 108,305
stat2-header = Passengers
stat2-data = 8,795,727
footnotes = Statistics from the UK CAA. [ Air Transport Movements 2007] & [ Terminal & Transit Passengers 2007] ]

Glasgow International Airport ( _gd. Port-adhair Eadar-nàiseanta Ghlaschu) Airport codes|GLA|EGPF (formerly Glasgow Abbotsinch Airport) is located 8 miles (13 km) west of Glasgow city centre, near the towns of Paisley and Renfrew in Renfrewshire, Scotland. In 2007 the airport handled 8,795,727 passengers making it the busiest in Scotland, and eighth busiest airport in the United Kingdom. It was the first airport in Scotland to handle over one million passengers in one month, in July 2004.

There are plans for expansion of the airport, with passenger numbers expected to reach over 24 million per annum by 2030.

The airport is owned and operated by BAA, which also owns and operates six other UK airports [ [ UK airports owned and operated by BAA] ] , and is itself owned by an international consortium led by the Spanish Ferrovial Group. [ [ BAA: "Who owns us?"] ]

Glasgow International Airport is a hub airport for Loganair, easyJet and Flyglobespan, and also houses maintenance facilities for British Airways.

The other international airport branded as a Glasgow destination is Glasgow Prestwick Airport, situated 29 miles (46 km) from the city centre, serving mainly low cost airlines.


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.Smith, Abbotsinch] The RAF Station HQ, however, was not formed until 1 July 1936 when 6 Auxiliary Group, Bomber Command, arrived. From May 1939, until moving away in October 1939, the Squadron flew the Supermarine Spitfire.


In 1940 a Torpedo training unit was formed, which trained both RAF and Royal Navy crews. On 11 August 1943 Abbotsinch was handed over solely to the Royal Navy and it became a "Stone frigate". All Her Majesty's Ships and Stone Frigates are given names and Abbotsinch's was HMS Sanderling; however Abbotsinch had been known as HMS Sanderling since June 1940. During the 1950s, the airfield had housed a large aircraft storage unit and squadrons of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.


The Royal Navy left in October 1963. 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".


In the 1960s Glasgow Corporation decided that a new airport for the city was required. The original site of Glasgow's main airport was 3 km (2 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 remarkably straight and level section of motorway occupies the site of the main runway.Smith, Renfrew]


Abbotsinch took over from Renfrew airport on 2 May 1966. It was a controversial planFact|date=February 2007, as central 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 8am on May 2 1966. The airport was officially opened on June 27 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.

In 1975 the British Airports Authority (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 the new structure so that the original Basil Spence building is actually inside it. The original concrete arches which once looked onto Caledonia Road now form the facade of the check-in area. Glasgow International Airport now has 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 easyJet and Thomas Cook Airlines.

By 1996, Glasgow Airport was handling 5.47 million passengers per annum, placing it fourth in the UK.


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

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. There are two BA Executive Club lounges; one at Gate 18 and the second (taken over from KLM UK when this airline withdrew from the route to London-Stansted) by Gate 16. bmi and 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. All flights to Ireland and Northern Ireland also use this pier. None of the stands on this pier are provided with airbridges. Stands 6 and 7 at the end of the East Pier are capable of receiving wide-body jets and occasionally passengers on international flights are bussed to/from the West (International) Pier to use aircraft parked there. 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. Stands 29 and 30 are capable of handling Boeing 747 aircraft. The largest aircraft currently regularly using the airport are the Emirates Boeing 777-300 which uses Stand 30, and recently the Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747-400. In the spring of 2006 a redevelopment of the International Departure Lounge took place including the provision of a new business/premium lounge.

Work commenced in autumn 2007 [cite web
url =^About%20BAA%20Glasgow^Media%20Centre^News%20Releases^Results/785663f5e1ce5110VgnVCM10000036821c0a____/a22889d8759a0010VgnVCM200000357e120a____/
title = Skyhub ready for take-off as construction phase begins
accessdate= 2007-10-30 |
] on Skyhub (located between the Main Terminal and Terminal 2) [cite web
url =
title = Glasgow Airport aiming sky high with £30m expansion
accessdate= 2007-10-30 |
] which will include a new purpose built security search area, replacing the existing three security areas – through which all departing passengers will pass – and new bars, shops and restaurants.

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 towns 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. Glasgow International also faces stiff competition from its old adversary at Prestwick, which has reinvented itself as a low-cost hub for budget airlines and which has a direct rail link to Central Glasgow. However, the Scottish Executive announced in 2002 that a rail link from Glasgow Central station would be built to Glasgow International Airport. The rail link known as Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) is expected to be completed in 2009 with the first trains running early 2010. Four trains an hour will run to Glasgow Central.

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, although this can suffer due to congestion in the centre of Glasgow during peak periods. The service is run by Arriva under contract to BAA.

The airport is home to the Scottish regional airline Loganair, currently a British Airways franchise operator, who have hangar facilities as well as their head office located on site. British Airways itself has a maintenance hangar at the airport, capable of carrying out overhaul work on Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft, as well as a cargo facility. Glasgow is also one of two main bases for Flyglobespan though this carrier does not have major facilities on the airfield. 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.

Future plans

In 2005 BAA published a [ consultation paper] for the future development of the airport. The consultation paper included proposals for a second runway parallel to and to the north-west of the existing runway 05/23; redevelopment and enlargement of the East (Low-cost) pier to connect directly with Terminal 2; and an additional International Pier to the west of the existing International Pier. Plans are also underway for a new rail terminal, joined to the airport's passenger terminal and multi-storey car park. On November 29, 2006 the Scottish Parliament gave the go-ahead for the new railway station as part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link to Glasgow Central station. The station and rail link are due to be completed in 2011.

Airlines and destinations

*Air Europa (Arrecife, Tenerife-South)
*Aer Lingus (Dublin)
*Air Malta (Malta)
*Air Transat (Calgary, Toronto-Pearson, Vancouver)
*Air Southwest (Newquay, Plymouth)
*BH Air (Bourgas, Plovdiv, Varna)
*bmi (Kos, London-Heathrow, Palma de Mallorca, Salzburg, Venice)
**bmi Regional (Copenhagen, Leeds/Bradford, Manchester)
*bmibaby (Birmingham, Cardiff, East Midlands, Knock)
*British Airways (London-Gatwick, London-Heathrow)
**operated by Loganair (Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Derry, Islay, Isle of Man, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree) [ends 25 October]
**operated by BA CityFlyer (London-City)
*Continental Airlines (Newark)
*easyJet (Alicante, Belfast-International, Berlin-Schönefeld, Bristol, Faro, Geneva [seasonal] , Ibiza, London-Gatwick, London-Luton, London-Stansted, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Charles de Gaulle)
*Emirates (Dubai)
*Eurocypria Airlines (Heraklion, Larnaca, Paphos)
*First Choice Airways (Arrecife, Bodrum, Bourgas, Cancun, Dalaman, Faro, Mahon, Monastir, Orlando-Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Reus, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South, Zakynthos)
*Flybe (Belfast-City, Birmingham, Cardiff, Exeter, Guernsey, Jersey, La Rochelle, Manchester, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Southampton)
**operated by Loganair (Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Islay, Isle of Man, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree) [begins 26 October]
*Flyglobespan (Alicante, Arrecife, Barcelona, Belfast-International, Calgary, Dalaman [Begins 1 April] , Faro, Fuerteventura, Heraklion, Hurghada [begins 5 November] , Ibiza, Las Palmas, Mahon, Málaga, Orlando-Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Pula, Tenerife-South, Toronto-Hamilton, Vancouver)
*Free Bird Airlines (Dalaman)
*Icelandair (Reykjavik-Keflavik)
*Iberworld (Ibiza, Las Palmas)
*KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam)
**operated by KLM Cityhopper (Amsterdam)
*LTE International Airways (Tenerife-South)
*Monarch Airlines (Alicante, Orlando-Sanford)
*Nouvelair (Monastir)
*Onur Air (Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman)
*Pakistan International Airlines (Faisalabad, Lahore)
*Pegasus Airlines (Dalaman) [seasonal]
*Scandinavian Airlines System (Stockholm-Arlanda)
*Spanair (Palma de Mallorca) [seasonal]
*SunExpress (Antalya)
*Thomas Cook Airlines (Alicante, Antalya, Arrecife, Banjul [begins 4th November] , Bodrum, Bourgas, Calgary, Cancun, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Heraklion, Hurghada, Ibiza, Kos, Larnaca, Las Palmas, Las Vegas, Mahon, Málaga, Malta, Monastir, Orlando-Sanford, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Reus, Rhodes, Sharm el-Sheikh, Tenerife-South, Toronto-Pearson, Zakynthos)
*Thomsonfly (Alicante, Bourgas, Bridgetown, Corfu, Dalaman, Faro, Heraklion, Ibiza, Larnaca, La Romana, Las Palmas, Mahon, Málaga, Naples, Palma de Mallorca, Paphos, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Reus, Rhodes, Tenerife-South, Verona)
*US Airways (Philadelphia) [seasonal]
*Virgin Atlantic (Orlando) [seasonal]

2007 Traffic Statistics

Accidents and other incidents

*On 8 February 1999, a Jersey European Fokker F27 made an emergency landing at the airport with a front landing gear problem. During approach, all 3 landing gears came out perfectly (although there WAS a problem with the nose gear), But after touchdown, the front gear collapsed and the aircraft nearly overran the runway where, in front of it, was the M8 motorway, one of the busiest roads in Scotland.

*On 3 September 1999, a Cessna 404 carrying 9 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 June 30 2007, a day after a failed terror attack in London, 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 terrorist died in the following months due to injuries sustained in the attack. A baggage handler at the airport, John Smeaton, became famous for his role in tackling the terrorists.

Ground transportation

The airport is currently linked to Glasgow City Centre by Glasgow Flyer bus service 500. This is run by Arriva Scotland West under contract to BAA. Started in 2007, the service runs 24 hours a day, direct via the M8 motorway. Previously, Arriva and Fairline Coaches ran this service as route 905, under contract to Scottish Citylink, and this ended following the introduction of the Flyer. Fairline has introduced a new Glasgow Airport Link service using the old route 905 number.

Bus Service

;Bus Stop 1:
*500 – Glasgow Flyer to and from Glasgow city centre ;Bus Stop 2:
*905 – Glasgow Airport Link to key Glasgow city centre locations including Govan and Queen Street Station
*66 – Arriva rail link buses to Paisley Gilmour Street – for trains to Glasgow Central station.;Bus Stop 3:
*300 – to Clydebank
*747 – 747 AirLink operated by First Glasgow, via Renfrew and Partick to Buchanan bus station
*902 – to Greenock
*915 – to Dumbarton, Fort William, Kyle of Lochalsh and Portree (Skye)



* Smith, David J (1983). "Action Stations. Volume 7: Military airfields of Scotland, the North-East and Northern Ireland". Cambridge: Patrick Stephens. ISBN 0-85059-563-0.
* United Kingdom AIP

External links

* [ Glasgow Airport - Official website]

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