A survey of businesses from across the West of Scotland, designed to give them a say on the Glasgow Airport Access Project (AAP) has closed, with early results indicating a strong level of support for the project.
The AAP is the flagship project of the £1.13billion Glasgow City Region City Deal and is intended to provide a rail link between Glasgow Central Station and Glasgow Airport via Paisley Gilmour Street station.
The survey, issued by the Renfrewshire and Glasgow Chambers of Commerce, sought the business community’s views on the potential economic benefits of the AAP and the two options for the airport link. Results from the survey, which closed on Friday 2nd September, will be used to help inform the choice between the two options.
The full results are currently being collated and evaluated by the project team in an appraisal process which will be included in the Outline Business Case. That is expected to be presented for consideration to Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board and Glasgow City Council’s Executive Committee in December 2016.
Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said; “The business community is central to our drive to create permanent jobs and revitalise Renfrewshire’s economy, and the Glasgow Airport Access Project is a key component of that strategy.
“We’re pleased that businesses, of all sizes, took the opportunity to have a direct input into the project. While we’re just beginning to analyse the results, early indications are that the local business community is right behind the project and eager for it to be delivered as soon as possible.
“Glasgow Airport is Renfrewshire’s economic engine and its continuing success is vital to the future of the wider economy of the Glasgow City Region. The AAP will promote and support growth by offering passengers a better experience and improving links with the already existing transport network.
“In order for this project to progress, the transport agency Transport Scotland, needs to include it in future rail planning proposals due to be finalised next year. The project’s inclusion in this document is critical.”
Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of the Glasgow City Region Cabinet, said: “A new direct link between Glasgow Airport and the city centre is essential for the thousands of travellers who fly into and out of Glasgow every day.
“The Glasgow City Region City Deal will deliver that link, generating jobs and inward investment. I’d like to thank all of the businesses who proactively engaged with the business survey, as we value the input of those who will ultimately benefit from the project.
“We’ll be looking for the full support of the Scottish Government and its agency, Transport Scotland, to not only commit to helping us deliver the rail link but also to speed up its delivery.”
Councillors Macmillan and McAveety are meeting with Transport Minister Humza Yousaf tomorrow (14 September) to press the case for including the £144 million project in high-level rail plans due to be finalised next year and critical to the successful delivery of the project.
One option for the AAP is a tram-train link which would provide passengers with a direct link between Glasgow Central station and Glasgow Airport. It would run on the existing heavy rail network before switching onto a new tram line from Paisley to the airport terminal building.
The estimated cost of the tram-train link is £144.3m. This includes construction, rolling stock, inflation and land acquisition.
The other option is a light-rail, Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system where passengers would travel by normal train to Paisley Gilmour Street. At Paisley Gilmour Street they would change onto a new light-rail system to complete their journey.
Around 30 airlines operate from Glasgow Airport, serving 120 destinations around the globe and moving more than nine million passengers. In one month alone, July 2016, more than one million passengers passed through the airport, a significant increase on the corresponding week during the previous year of 6.4%.
The AAP will be delivered by Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow City Council. Glasgow Airport, Transport Scotland and Network Rail are key stakeholders. Construction is expected to start in 2022 with services scheduled to begin in 2025.
See www.glasgowcityregion.co.uk for more information on the Glasgow City Region City Deal projects. Follow us on Twitter: @GlasgowCityDeal