27 Apr 2005
THE opening of the new M77 motorway will transform Glasgow Prestwick from a secondary to a mainstream airport.
That's the upbeat view of Chief Executive Steve Fitzgerald who says: "The opening is hugely significant for the continuing growth of the airport, Scotland's fastest-growing and one of the most rapidly-expanding in the UK.
"Connectivity is key and the road has fundamentally changed our status. We are no longer a secondary airport. We are now a mainstream airport, one of Glasgow's two airports conveniently located within a fast motorway network linking all parts of Scotland. Some two million people live within a one-hour drive or train trip and half our 2.5m passengers are coming to Scotland via the Prestwick gateway, so it's imperative we have twenty-first century integrated transport links in place.
"The opening of the M77 provides a reliable, short journey time for our passengers coming via Glasgow. We will conduct some specific research after the opening, but current estimates suggest a journey time of just 30 minutes from Glasgow city centre to the airport. People living in London would give their eye-teeth for a short journey time like that to their airports. Combined with regular rail services from Glasgow Central, Glasgow Prestwick is now Glasgow's most accessible airport."
Mr Fitzgerald believes the road will be a catalyst for growth in other ways. "Ryanair currently has daily services to 17 attractive destinations from Prestwick. The road opening and our terminal upgrades are expected to continue the growth of existing customers and attract new airlines to serve new destinations. Airlines that want to serve a "main Glasgow airport" are now spoilt for choice. With the best weather, runway length and ground access of any major Scottish airport, the potential for growth is enormous.
"Infratil Airport Holdings Limited, the owner of Glasgow Prestwick, is very confident in the future of the airport and has demonstrated this confidence with its willingness to continue investing in new and expanded services and facilities to match the rapid growth of passenger traffic. Passenger traffic has grown at Prestwick by an average of 30% per year for the past five years. With the new road providing fast, direct access, that double-digit growth is set to continue at Glasgow's second airport."
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