4 Jun 2004
two city airports, not one, argues new man at Prestwick's helm
The new man running Glasgow Prestwick Airport has called on the city of Glasgow to recognise it is served by two airports, not one, as he announced record passenger figures for May.
Phil Walker, Executive Chairman and acting Managing Director of the Airport, said: "Glasgow Prestwick is the city's gateway for lucrative European direct daily scheduled flights, and we have more of these than Glasgow Abbotsinch whose growth rate lags way behind us.
"Glasgow Prestwick is Scotland's fastest-growing airport with more than two million passengers a year. It's a major asset for the city and I'd like to think Glasgow recognised its exceptional value. But since I've been here I'm concerned there's a myopic view that BAA-run Abbotsinch is the only show in town. It's not; the name Glasgow Prestwick says it all."
Glasgow Prestwick's transformation from tranquil backwater to one of Europe's top airports continued in May with strong growth of 14.5%. A total of 173,733 passengers passed through the independent airport last month compared with May 2003's figure of 151,712.
The new rolling twelve-month total now stands at 2,030,337, up 32.7% on the previous year's figure of 1,529,840.
"The great results in May show our strategy of being efficient and low-cost is paying off. We're on target to hit four million passengers a year by the end of the decade and overtake BAA's Aberdeen to become Scotland's third-busiest airport," said Mr Walker.
Ryanair has carried over eight million passengers to and from Prestwick since it started operations there in 1994. In May, its thirteen routes continued to deliver significant volumes of incoming passengers, with the biggest number of visitors coming from Stockholm, Gothenburg and Frankfurt flights.
"The Swedes and the Germans love Scotland - our golf, scenery and whisky are big attractions for them," said Mr Walker. "And of course we are bracing ourselves for a big influx for the Open at Troon next month."
He continued: "Glasgow's motto is "Let Glasgow flourish". I would argue that it is flourishing in large part because of the hundreds of thousands of visitors who every year flock to Glasgow via Prestwick and spend their money in the city's shops, hotels, restaurants, pubs, clubs, golf courses and taxis.
"Our consistent double-digit growth means we continue to serve Glasgow well in terms of inbound tourism and economic growth. The airport is not just a transport interchange but a dynamic catalyst for regional and national prosperity.
"The reality is Prestwick is Glasgow's low-cost airport. A recent Scottish Enterprise survey showed we have helped boost the Scottish economy by £89m - much of that going Glasgow's way. It would be nice to get some recognition for that."
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