Glasgow strengthens Scotland’s growing links with China by working closely with one of country’s largest airport groups –  


Glasgow Airport and Shanghai Airport Authority have today (Thursday, May 17) signed a partnership agreement that will see the two cities work together to jointly petition China’s main airlines to establish a direct air link in the future between the West of Scotland and the Chinese powerhouse city of Shanghai.


Glasgow Airport and Shanghai Airport Authority, which operates the city’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports, have formed the Shanghai Airport Authority and Glasgow Airport Alliance with the goal of jointly developing a strategy to increase the number of passengers travelling between China and Scotland.

The partnership will see the airports work together to share expertise and best practice in all aspects of airport business and exchange ideas in order to help promote tourism opportunities between the two cities while creating an attractive environment for future direct air links.


The decision to form the alliance is as a result of months of discussions involving Shanghai Airport Authority’s president and senior executives and representatives from Glasgow Airport. It was during these discussions that representatives from Glasgow shared their vision for expansion into China and the potential appeal of the airport and city as the gateway to Scotland for tourists from the Shanghai area and beyond.

Commercial Director Francois Bourienne, who today signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of Glasgow Airport, said: “It is a tremendous honour to be in Shanghai today to sign this partnership agreement, which marks a significant milestone in the relationship between the cities of Glasgow and Shanghai.


“This Memorandum of Understanding provides us with a unique opportunity to work alongside and share ideas with our new colleagues from Shanghai Airport Authority, which is responsible for operating the Chinese mega-city’s two main airports, handling in excess of 100 million passengers combined annually.


“The alliance will ensure both partners not only learn from one another, but work together to further enhance the growing business and tourism links between Scotland and China.

“As well as being the country’s leading long-haul airport, Glasgow is a popular gateway to Scotland for hundreds of thousands of visitors from the Asia each year. This partnership will seek to build on this.


“Through the exchange of ideas and continued collaboration, this strong partnership could bring the very real prospect of introducing a direct air link between the West of Scotland and China’s biggest city closer than it has ever been before.”


Mr Ruijun Jia, Vice President of Shanghai Airport Authority, said: “Shanghai Airport Authority is delighted to enter in to this long-term partnership with the airport of Scotland’s largest city; Glasgow Airport.


“Our aim is to work collaboratively with the management of Glasgow Airport to exchange best practices in airport operations and to jointly implement initiatives to grow visitor numbers between Glasgow, Scotland and Shanghai.”


Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Stuart Patrick said: “This is a fantastic coup for Glasgow Airport, and one that the Chamber will support with great vigour not least since the majority of Scotland’s Chinese community live and work in Glasgow. The airport team is to be warmly congratulated for their initiative.   


“China is at the top of our international trade priority list, with Shanghai one of its most strategically important cities. There are enormous opportunities in China which has gone through three decades of extraordinary change and where the Scottish Chambers of Commerce has been active in developing connections.”


David Leven, Greater China Director for Scottish Enterprise, said: “This is a great step forward in efforts to secure deeper collaboration and another direct link between China and Scotland, and between Glasgow and Shanghai specifically, one of the world’s largest and most dynamic cities.  


“China has recently become a top 5 source of inward investment for Scotland and Shanghai is an increasingly important export market for a wide range of Scottish goods and services, from financial services to education to seafood.”


Glasgow Airport is preparing for one of its busiest periods of the year as an expected 455,000 holidaymakers travel through the terminal for the Easter school holidays this weekend.

With Easter weekend falling at the beginning of the holiday break this year, the airport is preparing for three exceptionally busy weekends ahead.

This weekend is likely to be the busiest with more than 105,000 people expected to travel through the airport. A further 350,000 passengers are expected to travel through the airport during the entire school break.

The majority of travellers will be heading to popular sun destinations such as the Canary Islands, the Costas in Spain, Dubai and Florida.  Passengers are also expected to jet off to a number of city and short-break destinations such as Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Naples, Donegal, Munich and the new Daily Frankfurt service launched by Lufthansa earlier this week.

Glasgow Airport will have extra staff in place to help guide passengers, especially those with young children, through check-in and security.  There will also be Easter entertainment on offer for our younger departing passengers this weekend, including an arts and crafts stall and a face-painting.

Francois Bourienne, commercial director at Glasgow Airport, said: “This Easter school holiday break is gearing up to be one of our busiest on record, particularly given the cold weather we experienced this winter.

“There’s always a fantastic atmosphere in the terminal during the Easter break as we welcome thousands of people through the terminal during the next two weeks. To make sure our passengers enjoy a smooth journey through the airport we’ll have plenty of staff on hand and there will also be lots of activities to keep the little ones entertained as they head off on their holidays.”

Glasgow Airport is advising all travellers to ensure liquids carried in hand luggage are within the 100ml limit to help ensure a speedy security process for the Easter weekend.

A Glasgow Airport spokesman said:

The extreme weather conditions of the last 72 hours have seen the airport experience record levels of snow.

Airport staff have worked continuously through the night to clear the runway, wider airfield and passenger walkways.

While we are currently operational a large number of flights have been cancelled.  We continue to urge passengers to check the status of their flights with their airlines and to only travel to the airport if safe to do so.

We are currently working towards reopening the airport tomorrow morning, however, this will be dependent on the weather. Further snow is forecast and our teams will be continuing with snow clearing operations throughout the night.

There will be a knock-on effect on tomorrow’s schedule following the disruption we’ve experienced meaning there will be further delays and cancellations. Our advice to passengers is to only travel to the airport once they have checked the status of their flight with their airline. We would also remind people that a severe amber warning remains in place so please only travel if it is safe to do so.

Glasgow Airport terminal

A severe amber warning advising against all but essential travel has been issued by the Met Office and will remain in place until tomorrow morning. In light of this and the impact it is having on passengers and staff, including airline staff, travelling to and from the airport we will remain closed for the rest of the day. This decision has been taken with safety of passengers and staff in mind.

Our teams are continuing with snow clearing operations, however, we would advise passengers not to travel to the airport. Anyone with travel plans should contact their airline directly for specific flight information.

Further updates on plans for tomorrow’s schedule will be issued later today.


Due to continued severe weather conditions and the large number of flights which airlines have had to cancel, there will be no further flights to or from Glasgow Airport until 11am on Thursday 1 March.

Further heavy snowfall is forecast throughout the night and the red alert remains in place.

We would advise passengers not to travel to the airport and anyone with travel plans should contact their airline directly for specific flight information.

Due to continued severe weather conditions and the large number of flights which airlines have had to cancel, there will be no further flights to or from Glasgow Airport for the remainder of the day.

Further heavy snowfall is forecast and we will provide updates regarding tomorrow’s scheduled services later this evening.

We would advise passengers not to travel to the airport and anyone with travel plans should contact their airline directly for specific flight information.

A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said: “We are bitterly disappointed at this decision by Ryanair which is not only damaging for Glasgow and wider Scottish connectivity, it will impact approximately 100 jobs locally. This is a result of the airline’s review of its single aircraft bases, however, we have been left in no doubt it is also a consequence of the Scottish Government’s inability to introduce its proposed 50% cut in Air Departure Tax (ADT).

“Despite clear and repeated warnings from both airports and airlines about the potential impact of this policy not being implemented, we are now faced with a stark scenario that includes the loss of 20 services and a significant number of jobs.

“This is the second example in as many months of an airline cutting capacity in Scotland because of the lack of movement on ADT. The reality is this capacity will be reallocated elsewhere in Europe to countries with more favourable aviation taxation policies to Scotland’s detriment. We cannot sit back and risk Scotland’s connectivity being further eroded. It is imperative there is immediate action on ADT.”

Commenting on the news, constituency MSP Derek Mackay said:

“The UK Government continue to set rates for APD, and they should take this news seriously.

“The SNP are committed to reducing departure tax by 50% from Scottish airports, something which Labour still oppose. They should now re-consider their stance.”


Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has reacted angrily to the announcement from Ryanair that they’re slashing the number of routes traveling into Glasgow Airport.

Glasgow Airport lies in Gavin Newlands’ Paisley and Renfrewshire constituency with the airport being one of the biggest employers in the area.

On Tuesday morning, Ryanair announced that they are closing their base at Glasgow Airport and slashing the number of routes from 23 to 3. Following this announcement, Mr Newlands challenged the UK Government’s Treasury team in the House of Commons to intervene to help secure the future growth of Glasgow Airport .

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“This bitterly disappointing announcement by Ryanair will be painful news to Glasgow Airport and the wider Renfrewshire economy. This announcement could result in 300 local jobs being lost, a reduction of 20 flight routes and a loss of up to 1.2 million passengers.

“My first thoughts are with the local staff who may be affected by this disappointing announcement and I’m ready to offer any assistance that I can.

“I am really frustrated with the leadership of Ryanair who have over the past few months been in a state of disarray.

“The behaviour of Ryanair raises some serious questions, but this announcement also shows that the shambolic Brexit negotiations are having a detrimental impact on the airline industry. The European Commission has regularly warned that the UK will leave the single aviation market when it leaves the EU and the UK Government have continued to ignore these warnings, despite the deep worries of those working in the airline industry.

“We need to do more to protect and grow our airline industry. The Scottish Government’s Air Departure Tax is one way in which we can do this as soon as the issues surrounding tax emption for flights departing from the Highlands and Islands have been resolved. The UK Government cannot delay this any longer – they should support these proposals and ensure they are approved by the European Commission.

“However, the attempts to grow our airline industry will be hampered whilst the UK Government trudges on unprepared with the Brexit negotiations. Their ineptitude and arrogance are already having an impact and its past time that they wake up and start treating these negotiations with the seriousness that they deserve.”

Overall passenger numbers down 3%

  • EU-scheduled traffic increased by 4.7%

Glasgow Airport welcomed 579,888 passengers through its doors in January, representing a decrease of 3% on the same period last year.

EU-scheduled traffic was up 4.7% thanks to the popularity of a number of winter sun routes and an increase in capacity on city break destinations including Munich, Frankfurt, Madrid, Dusseldorf, Lisbon and Valencia.

International traffic was down 1.9% due to the suspension of United’s Newark winter route while adverse weather conditions also impacted services throughout the month.

Domestic traffic was down 4% on the same period last year due to the temporary suspension of Ryanair’s three-times daily Stansted service, however, regional traffic was up thanks to increased uptake on routes to Manchester and Southampton.

Francois Bourienne, Glasgow Airport’s commercial director, said: “January is traditionally a quieter period for the airport, however, our passenger numbers were affected by adverse weather conditions which resulted in a number of flights being cancelled. The suspension of United’s winter service to Newark and Ryanair’s Stansted route were also contributing factors.

“January’s passenger numbers are a clear reminder that we cannot take our air connections for granted as the airport continues to face stiff global competition when it comes to attracting new routes and maintaining existing ones.

“Route development will continue to be a key focus and whilst we are looking forward to welcoming a number of new routes this year including Lufthansa’s daily service to Frankfurt in March, we are in no doubt that 2018 is going to be a challenging year for the airport and the wider industry.

“Against the backdrop of continued uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the Scottish Government’s proposed 50% reduction in Air Passenger Duty would deliver a much-needed competitive edge and provide airlines with the confidence to invest further in Scotland.”


Traffic summary

January 2018

Terminal passengers


% year-on-year change Total passengers for Feb 17 -Jan 2018 % annual change
579,888 -3% 9,878,237 +5.0%

AGS Airports Ltd, which owns Aberdeen International, Glasgow and Southampton airports, has today (Monday 22 January 2018) confirmed that Derek Provan will succeed Amanda McMillan as both Chief Executive Officer of AGS and Managing Director of Glasgow Airport.

Heathrow, Derek Provan, Chief Operating Officer, Heathrow Airport Limited, Nov 2017.

Born in Glasgow, Derek has over 20 years of experience in aviation and joins AGS from Heathrow, Europe’s largest airport, where he is currently Interim Chief Operating Officer.

Derek joined Heathrow in 2013 having spent three years as Managing Director of Aberdeen International Airport. Derek started his aviation career in 1998 at Glasgow Airport where he went on to hold a series of senior roles including Airfield Operations Manager, Head of Security and Terminal Operations and Customer Services Director.

Derek will take up his position at AGS and Glasgow Airport in April 2018. He will work closely with the Board, chaired by Sir Peter Mason, to further build on the success of the group which carried over 15 million passengers in 2017.

Commenting on the appointment, Sir Peter said: “Given Derek’s extensive experience and knowledge, not just of the AGS group of airports but the aviation industry as a whole, he was the natural choice of the Board. It is great to have someone of Derek’s pedigree joining the group and I am looking forward to working with him as we ensure our airports continue to deliver for the communities they serve.”

On his new role, Derek said: “Very few people are afforded the opportunity to lead the airport at which they started their career. Glasgow has enjoyed remarkable success in recent years and starts 2018 having recorded its busiest year on record. I’m excited at the prospect of returning home to build on everything that has been achieved to date.

As Chief Executive Officer, I will be supporting the local management teams at both Aberdeen International and Southampton airports as we work to cement AGS’s position as one of the UK’s largest and most successful airport groups.”