Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh Airport expansion plans unveiled

Edinburgh Airport

Plans for the expansion of Scotland's busiest airport over the next quarter of a century have been unveiled.

Edinburgh Airport has launched a consultation, allowing the public to give their feedback on its "masterplan" for development from now until 2040.

The proposals centre around the growth of operations on the ground, rather than routes or planned changes to flight paths above the capital.

Environment campaigners have questioned the need for further expansion.

An enlarged terminal building and aircraft parking area are in the plans.

The scrapping of an existing contingency runway and the continued "safeguarding" of land for a new second runway are also proposed.

Over the last decade, the number of passengers travelling through Edinburgh Airport has increased by 20%.

Passenger numbers are predicted to rise by a further 18%, from 11.1 million last year to 13.1 million in 2020.

'Realistic and responsible'

The existing terminal building and main runway were developed in 1977, a time when the airport had fewer than one million passengers per year.

The current masterplan sets out a development strategy for the "realistic and responsible" growth of the airport over the next 25 years.

A more speculative plan of development going up to 2050 has also been released.

The key proposals include expanding the terminal building, aircraft parking area and cargo storage facilities.

Plans to improve access to the airport are also suggested with the creation of a new road linking to the Gogar Roundabout.

The closure of the existing second runway, as its size means it is not suitable for frequent use, is also suggested, as is "the continued safeguarding of land for a new second runway".

The document, however, adds: "This safeguarding is a long-term precaution only, as we believe that the future growth of the airport can be sustained by the current main runway only."

The airport's consultation on its proposals is open for six weeks.

A consultation on its airspace change programme (ACP) will take place next year.

'Good for Scotland'

Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport chief executive, said: "At Edinburgh Airport our passenger numbers have grown more in the past three years than they did in the 10 years previous.

"We've grown by one million passengers each year since 2012. We've grown our route network, serving more destinations and working with more airlines than ever.

"We believe that this growth is good for Scotland."

He added: "This masterplan document sets out how we think we'll grow in the decades to come and we're asking some questions around that.

"Your views are important in making sure that our thinking is correct and that it fits with wider plans."

The proposal for further expansion of the airport has been criticised by Transform Scotland, the campaign for sustainable transport.

Director Colin Howden said: "Aviation is the most polluting form of transport and one that threatens Scotland's ability to meet its climate change commitments.

"The aviation industry thinks it should be allowed to expand without restraint and without regard for Scotland's international commitments, instead expecting that other parts of the economy should bear the responsibility for cutting emissions while its growth is allowed to continue unfettered."

Local campaigners Edinburgh Airport Watch added: "At peak times, its struggles to cope with passenger and traffic numbers now are already well documented - there is simply neither the demand nor the surface capacity to allow EAL to expand further.

"The cost of unfettered aviation expansion is poorer air quality, more noise misery for neighbours - some 20 miles or more from the runway - and a worsening of Scotland's already enormous tourism deficit."

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