FLIGHTS between Glasgow and London should be protected, according to the boss of the UK's second largest airport.

Following BMI's pull- out from Glasgow and BA axing early morning and late night flights, connections between Glasgow and Heathrow have been reduced.

As part of the battle to win the race for airport expansion in the south east of England, the chief executive of Gatwick Airport wants to see protected landing slots for flights from regional airports.

Stewart Wingate, was speaking to business leaders at the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce 'Glasgow Talks' series, seeking backing for his plan for a second runway at the airport to the south of London.

He said more flights to global destinations will be added as a result of the second runway, but not at the expense of regional and short haul links.

Mr Wingate said: "If we get the second runway it will free up new landing slots for more flights.

"We are looking to protect a number of those slots. We are looking at EU competition rules to see if we can guarantee that when the decision about the new runway is made then regions can be protected at the start.

"It is important we deal with these issues at the planning stage."

Mr Wingate's plan to rival the third Heathrow runway option is a second runway at Gatwick, with a new terminal building between two parallel runways.

Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: "Nothing is more fundamental than the need for business connections.

"We know we don't have the population base to support the number of flights we would like at Glasgow Airport.

"The Chamber has been an active voice in campaigning for greater connections."