CIVIC leaders have backed plans for a multi-million takeover bid for Glasgow Airport by a group including the city's £13.5billion pension fund.

Gordon Matheson, the leader of Glasgow City Council, ­yesterday welcomed news that a consortium including Strathclyde Pension Fund was making overtures to the Spanish owners Ferrovial.

Representatives of a possible bid have expressed interest to Heathrow Airport Holdings in buying the airport and would like guidance on how to initiate a bid of around £500 million.

Councillor Gordon Matheson said: "Glasgow Airport has huge strategic importance for our city and also the wider regional and national economies.

"It is Scotland's principal long-haul gateway and has an extensive schedule of European and domestic flights including vital routes to the Scottish islands."

Councillor Matheson said the bid brought together strong "regional interest" and strategic management skills. It also offered the "best possible opportunity to meet the needs of local business and leisure travellers."

Renfrewshire Council leader Mark Macmillan said it was encouraging to see such interest in the airport as a key point for jobs, investment and economic growth in the area.

He said: "I believe the ­combination of locally-based involvement backed by international investment and financial expertise would be ideally placed to meet and benefit from our region's economic interests and maximise the growth potential for investors."

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief Stuart Patrick insisted he would welcome investment that grows the business.

He said: "Glasgow Airport is the most important transport asset the city has for business to access markets abroad.

"The management team has been doing an excellent job in growing it over the last three years and we support any owners who can provide investment funding that will maintain that growth.

"Clearly the two councils understand the importance of the airport but naturally the consortium will be making its decision on investment returns."

Only when due diligence is completed will a bid be tabled.

The move to purchase the airport is to be made by major investors including the Strathclyde Pension Fund. The pension fund has £13.5billion of assets and the consortium will be led by Swiss-based Partners Group, a global private markets investment management firm that masterminds more than €30bn of investments.

A spokesman for the Partners Group said: "We can confirm we are in the process but can't give you any information regarding the timing."