Air traffic staff ready to guide in VIP private jets for Commonwealth Games

AIR traffic controllers at Glasgow Airport are battle ready as a convoy of private jets prepares to bring heads of govern-ment, VIPs and stars to the city to watch the Commonwealth Games.

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The airport is bracing itself for Commonwelth Games VIPs
The airport is bracing itself for Commonwelth Games VIPs

Staff have been in training for the last two years to make sure the skies above Glasgow remain safe and secure while some of the best athletes on the planet compete for gold in front of more than a million spectators.

The Games clash with the busy holiday season as tens of thousands of families fly out for a summer break in the sun but the sporting extravaganza is not expected to generate any significant increase in commercial flights.

However, the number of private planes using the airport will multiply and that means more work for staff in the airport's control tower especially on busy key dates including the opening and closing ceremonies.

Controllers and staff at Nats - formerly known as National Air Traffic Services - will also play a pivotal role in ensuring that no rogue aircraft breach the blanket of security which will cover the event.

They have had to undergo specialist training in simulators to make sure they are all Games ready after the government ordered a major security crackdown.

Controllers will enforce a series of restrictions including no-fly zones to be introduced above all 13 Games venues in the Glasgow area, including Hampden Park which is hosting the athletics events including the 100m sprint final.

The RAF will have controllers based at the airport along with senior police officers and aerospace battle managers - surveillance specialists who will use sophisticated equipment to monitor the skies.

Fighter jets will also be on standby to repel any potential terror strikes but will not be based the airport.

Gary Dixon, general manager at Nats Glasgow, said: "July is traditionally the busiest month of the year for us as thousands fly off on their summer holidays and with the Commonwealth Games also taking place during this time, we want to make sure we manage the traffic as successfully as possible."

gordon.thomson@eveningtimes.co.uk

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