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£10m boost for airport ahead of 2014 Games

GLASGOW Airport is bringing forward £10 million of investment which will see its international arrivals hall revamped ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

OUTLOOK: Managing director Amanda McMillan is leading efforts to improve the passenger experience at Glasgow Airport. Picture: Mark Gibson
OUTLOOK: Managing director Amanda McMillan is leading efforts to improve the passenger experience at Glasgow Airport. Picture: Mark Gibson

The expansion and improvement of the international hall forms part of a general terminal overhaul to ensure the site is ready to deal with the athletes and spectators expected for the sporting event.

Included within the investment plan is a new floor and other modernisations in the check-in area – some of which was damaged during the terrorist attack in 2007 – and around £1.5m on upgrading toilets across the airport.

The £10m comes on top of £7m which was already planned in areas including improving taxi-ways, fire safety enhancement and replacing assets which have reached the end of their life.

Amanda McMillan, managing director, said: "The additional spend will see us step up and play our part in Commonwealth Games readiness.

"We will very much target that at passenger-facing aspects of the terminal with a very large proportion going into our international arrivals hall as we see that as the gateway to the Games and as a key welcome to Scotland.

"In internationals we will improve ease of movement, ease congestion and make sure people can be met by friends and family.

"The reality is international arrivals was created when we had narrow-bodied aircraft. We now have a lot of wide-bodied aircraft arriving with 450 passengers who all want to come through the same exit.

"Our overall ambition is that it is an easier journey to navigate and that it is friendlier and warmer. Overall, we see it as a step-change in the passenger experience."

Ms McMillan said planning of the revamp would be done between now and May with the bulk of the work carried out from October once the busy summer season is finished.

Images of Glasgow and Scotland are likely to be included in the international arrivals hall to give visitors a sense of place from when they enter the terminal.

The investment is also extending to staff training, with 450 Glasgow Airport staff receiving training in providing service to the public with a bit of "charm and charisma".

The initiative is being extended to the further 4000 people who work at the airport including police, border control, handling agents and retailers.

Ms McMillan said: "A lot of retailers are brilliant at service but have chosen to participate as they see the benefit of every customer belonging to us all collectively."

Ms McMillan is also pleased progress is being made in looking at improving transport links to the airport. An independent technical study confirming road congestion problems has been delivered and a Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance report is expected at the end of March.

It is expected to provide a list of possible solutions, but Ms McMillan cautioned that none of the proposals will have costs attached to them.

Ms McMillan said: "My job is to point out I run a piece of infrastructure, there are congestion issues and something needs to be done about it.

"I would like some clarity in the next six months."

Glasgow Airport owner Heathrow, formerly known as BAA, was forced to slim down its portfolio due to competition concerns but retains Southampton and Aberdeen. A new logo and brand identity for Glasgow Airport is being worked on at present.

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