Glasgow & West Scotland

Finance minister Derek Mackay says better Glasgow Airport link needed

Glasgow Airport terminal
Image caption The report said Glasgow Airport handled £3.5bn in global trade in 2017

Scotland's finance secretary believes better transport links to Glasgow Airport are needed "as soon as possible".

Derek Mackay said a now discarded plan for a rail service "hasn't been deemed perfect" and another was needed.

Bosses at Glasgow Airport said it was the only one of its kind in Europe reliant on road access.

However, Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said an investment in a direct rail link was a "massive risk".

Glasgow Central 'pressure'

That proposal was announced as part of the £1.13bn Glasgow City Region deal agreed in 2014 and was expected to be operational by 2025.

But after several delays and concerns, it now looks like there will be a different option.

Glasgow Airport is located in Mr Mackay's Renfrewshire North and West constituency, and he said the issue was a matter for the City Deal board, which includes Glasgow and Renfrewshire councils.

He told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "The tram train rail project hasn't been deemed as perfect and I think that's why the City Deal board and other key stakeholders and partners are looking at the best form of transport.

"A lot of people didn't appreciate that the plans as they stood at the moment would have severely impacted the Inverclyde and Ayrshire lines as well as adding to the pressures on Glasgow Central."

The minister added: "I think it is right to reflect on what is best to give Glasgow airport improved connectivity.

"Much of that we can get on with now, whether it's priority lanes in terms of the motorway, or other interventions.

"I am attracted to the new projects that have been put forward - so we will get on with it, but we want to get it right."

'Betrayal of the city'

Mr Mackay added: "I do think there's a better solution and I want to get on with that better solution as quickly as possible."

Glasgow Airport bosses have said action to improve transport links with the city centre is needed urgently.

Ms Aitken said she was committed to finding a solution.

An improved link between the airport and Paisley Gilmour Street train station has been put forward as one alternative.

However, former Glasgow council leader Frank McAveety said that not pursuing a rail link between the centre of Glasgow and the airport was a "betrayal" of the city.

He added that the Glasgow Airport Rail Link project should be put "back on track".

Follow BBC presenter Andrew Black's business updates each weekday morning on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme between 0600 and 0900.

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