Since 2008 Glasgow Airport has seen passengers fall south during which time its biggest competitor Edinburgh has enjoyed better times to become the busiest Scottish airport.
The figures for August were up by 6 per cent following a record for July with year on year figures up 2.6% with total passenger numbers reaching 9.5 million.
The World Pipe Band Championship and the World Street Dance Championship plus the Edinburgh summer festivals all helped to increase inward traffic to Glasgow with increased numbers are flying to Florida, Dubai, Amsterdam and Poland.
The owners say they are working hard to make the passage through check-in and security a quicker process because this is seen by customers of one of their pet hates when visiting any airport.
Edinburgh continues to do well but at least Glasgow is now at least back in the race to win back its former position.
Over 832,000 passengers passed through Glasgow airport making it the busiest July for five years with a 5.4% increase over last year. This is welcome news for Glasgow who along with Stansted has been one of the most affected airports by the economic downturn.
Long haul flights to Dubai with Emirates and increased flights to the USA contributed 3.7% of the increase. The biggest boost came from domestic traffic up a massive 8% with flights to London and Belfast doing better.
Since the early 2011the airport has steadily been gaining ground with June and July showing the greatest year on year increases. The airport is still behind pre-recession figures of 2008 but there is growing optimism and once BAA sells competitor airport Edinburgh more inward investment is planned.
Glasgow airport serves all of Scotland and a good proportion of Northern England from Carlisle in the West down to Newcastle in the East. As a consequence, if you propose to travel to Edinburgh by rail or coach you will probably have to take a taxi to get to the station and then have to take two or more connections.
Lugging cases across bus or rail stations especially with a family in toe can be quite a stressful and physically demanding chore with the ever present fear that a delay will result in a missed connection.
Conversely, using the car takes away all the problems of making connections with the car only having to be loaded and unloaded once doing away with the physical effort of carrying luggage onto and off trains and buses.
Moreover, by using the car the journey is less dependent on third parties and a leisurely drive can be undertaken with planned stop off for meals etc. Also from a cost point of view, the cost of taking one person by car is the same as taking four with fuel and car parking prices fixed. Clearly, the same cannot be said for using a bus or train where all the family will be charged both ways.
To keep costs down it is always cheaper to book Glasgow airport car parking in advance and if you use one of the many off airport car parks the price is even better. Conversely, if a really long journey is required an Airport hotel with Parking should be considered.
In a nutshell driving to the airport is far more convenient, less physically demanding and in most cases cheaper.
Distances in Miles from Glasgow Airport
Edinburgh – 41
Perth – 48
Dundee – 64
St Andrews – 65
Fort William – 74
Inverness – 111
Newcastle – 121
Aberdeen – 121
Durham – 130
Middlesbrough – 149
Blackpool – 150
Liverpool – 177
Passengers flying into and out of Glasgow airport can take some comfort in the knowledge that when it comes to safety, procedures are in place and staff awareness are second to none.
It is the first UK airport to be awarded a five star award following a four day assessment by the British Safety Council covering site inspections, questioning staff responses and a review of the risk management in policy.
Airports by their very nature must ensure the general public can move from the parking and arrival areas through check-in ,security and passport into the departure lounge and then onto the aircraft in an orderly and safe fashion.
The management and staff are to be congratulated for attaining this award and hopefully this will lead to greater recognition from the general public and should lead to increased business.
Edinburgh airport recorded impressive growth of 4.4 per cent last month with just over 800,000 customers whilst Glasgow managed 550,000 passengers up just 0.4 per cent.
Edinburgh’s surge came mostly from a leap in International traffic, with the new routes introduced by Easyjet to several European destinations and new flights from Rynair. On the domestic front the Little Red service to Heathrow under the Virgin banner also helped.
Up until 2005 Glasgow airport was the number one airport in Scotland but has struggled more than its closest rival during the economic downturn and is still operating well below 2007 annual figures.
BAA have spurned keeping Edinburgh airport in favour of Glasgow and despite the dramatic reductions seen they must be confident that the airport has greater scope and are embarking on a refurbishment programme to attract new airlines and woe customers.
The Commonwealth games are seen as a prime opportunity to promote the airport and the city and it will be interesting over the next 5 years to see if Glasgow can narrow the gap and indeed regain its premier position.
Following the Competition Commission’s decision to force BAA to sell Gatwick and Stansted airport in the south and either Glasgow or Edinburgh in Scotland, BAA have surprisingly decided to sell Edinburgh.
Edinburgh overtook Glasgow in terms of passenger numbers around 2005/2006 and today is the 5th largest UK airport with 9.1 million passengers, whilst Glasgow has continued to slip with only 7.1m according to the latest 12 months rolling figures to January 2013.
Airport Name Passenger Numbers
HEATHROW – 69998953
GATWICK – 34200857
MANCHESTER – 19690087
STANSTED – 17475699
LUTON – 9602699
EDINBURGH – 9162162
BIRMINGHAM – 8910761
GLASGOW – 7145307
BRISTOL – 5910662
LIVERPOOL (JOHN LENNON) – 4403376
NEWCASTLE – 4344168
BELFAST INTERNATIONAL – 4301002
EAST MIDLANDS INTERNATIONAL – 4043991
ABERDEEN – 3327853
LONDON CITY – 3005540
LEEDS BRADFORD – 2969751
BELFAST CITY (GEORGE BEST) – 2247102
SOUTHAMPTON – 1683000
PRESTWICK – 1079612
The official opening of the new Scottish Parliament in 2004 has undoubtedly been a major contributor to Edinburgh airport increases and as capital of Scotland is a natural entry point for overseas visitors.
Throughout the current recession Glasgow has continued to struggle whilst Edinburgh has not only weathered the storm but seen increased activity. The only conclusion is that BAA is confident that Glasgow has greater opportunity for development.
This must all be good news for travellers in Scotland and Northern England because given the airports proximity to each other the customer is now to be given a real choice both in terms of service and destinations.
Competition in airline landing charges, retail costs and airport parking charges should all work to way through to give the customer a more valued experience. BAA will now look to improve the customer experience making the journey from parking the car, check in, security and relaxing in the departure lounge.
Glasgow is located in a more central position with a larger adjacent catchment area and if BAA can make the airport a better value experience this must have weighed heavily with their decision to choose Glasgow over Edinburgh.
If the Glasgow airport parking charges become cheaper the off airport car parks will also fall into line and is an excellent example how the customers will benefit from this demerger.