Scottish airports draining local economies

Last week we heard that there is going to be an emergency economic review of Glasgow Airport in the coming year to assess the level of economic importance of the airport. Passenger numbers have fallen 20% in the last two years and BAA have to sell off one of Edinburgh or Glasgow. But Gerry McCartney and Airport Watch Scotland just finished an economic report into the airport. Why not just look at that?

Could it be because the report wasn't complementary about the aviation industry? Gerry showed that Glasgow airport has a tourism deficit of £1.36 billion (which is also in line with the UK deficit of £17 billion) and is a drain on the local economy. This flies in the face of the Government's airport policy: expansion, expansion, expansion. The paper rightly noted that no one has examined what would happen if the airport didn't expand. Would the country go into shock? The fabric of our economic system break down? Not likely.

Halting the expansion of Glasgow airport means fewer sleepless nights for local residents, fewer greenhouse gas emissions and would move us towards our Climate Change Act targets. More people would chose to travel by more sustainable methods of transport, and it would reduce the airport's negative impact on the economy.

When Gerry’s report was launched in the Scottish Parliament after its release in December 2008, apart from the organiser not one single MSP showed up. It seems the politicians are only interested if reports about the aviation industry come from the aviation industry. It’s time for that to change.

Gerry concluded that "An informed way forward would be to plan a staged disinvestment in air travel alongside investment in sustainable industries and travel modes. This Just Transition would create a sustainable economy and more secure employment." Wake up Hollyrood, it’s time to plan for our future.