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Glasgow airport rail link will boost jobs and tourism

26.04.06

A rail link between Glasgow Airport and the city centre will boost business, jobs and tourism and cut motorway congestion, MSPs have been told by a number of organisations. Overwhelming support for the planned £160 million link was given by business groups and Glasgow City Council to a parliamentary committee scrutinising the plans.

The airport rail link project will see 5 miles of track upgraded between Glasgow and Paisley, boosting capacity for services from Central Station to Renfrewshire, Ayrshire and Inverclyde. A spur from Paisley Gilmour Street Station will transport users to the airport.

In its submission to the committee, Scottish Enterprise said a high-quality rail link would assist it in attracting new direct international flights. It added that to spread the economic benefits of the airport the new service should give passengers the option of travelling beyond Glasgow and the west of Scotland.

Further backing for the airport link scheme came from Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. It said the link would ensure transport connections were comparable with other major international airports. The chamber said a rail link would make it more accessible to business travellers and more attractive as a location for corporate headquarters.

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce said it was 'overwhelmingly' in favour but had concerns over compulsory purchase of land, funding and maintenance. Airport owner BAA is in favour of the link but has lodged a formal objection because it feared compulsory purchase powers could cause delays, prompting uncertainty over other major developments.

The CBI said the link would generate greater commercial investment by influencing new airlines to offer services to and from Glasgow airport and also in persuading existing airlines to launch new routes. It added that a link would also help ease congestion on the M8 by offering an additional travel option.

Glasgow City Council reaffirmed its support. However, it requested MSPs ask the Strathclyde Partnership For Transport, which is responsible for the scheme, to confirm the present design for a rail station at Ibrox, even if the airport services did not stop there.

Paisley Partnership Regeneration Company said the link should provide increased employment opportunities.

The parliamentary process for the link is expected to take about a year. If approved, the link should open in 2009.

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