Airport boss predicts a sizzling summer ahead

AIRPORT chiefs are preparing for a sizzling summer as Glasgow gets ready to welcome pop fans and international conference delegates as well as thousands of competitors and spectators for the Commonwealth Games.

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Passenger numbers have soared over the last three years and steady growth is expected to continue in the months ahead as airlines launch busy summer schedules.

Last month saw the rise in travellers continue when more than 576,300 used the airport including dozens of VIPs brought to Glasgow by airline officials at the Emirates who flew them from Dubai on board the world's biggest-ever commercial jet.

The Emirates A380 one-off flight was witnessed by hundreds of plane spotters around the airport's perimeter fence.

And it was international traffic which drove growth in April with numbers rising by 7.9% with almost 20,000 extra passengers while domestic flights handled 7000 more than April last year.

The latest figures confirm a complete turn around for the west coast hub.

It went into a slump which saw it lose its crown as Scotland's busiest airport to rivals in Edinburgh, but continuous growth has been recorded since 2011 save for four monthly "blips" with the last in January 2013, when blizzards brought flight chaos.

But April was Glasgow Airport's 15th consecutive month of growth with number rising since January, 2011.

Last year the hub handled 7.4million passengers, making 2013 the third consecutive year of growth and the busiest since 2008, when Amanda McMillan was appointed managing director.

Ms McMillan hailed the arrival of the Emirates A380 as "extremely memorable."

She said: "We also enjoyed a busy Easter period and celebrated the launch of a number of new routes including easyJet's flights to Kos and the decision by Citywing to reinstate a direct service to the Isle of Man."

She added that forthcoming major events such as Radio 1's Big Weekend, the Games and the Ryder Cup as well as major conferences all promise to make it an "exciting summer" with the airport chief promising to help "further enhance Glasgow's international reputation."

gordon.thomson@eveningtimes.co.uk

Travel

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