THE ACTION during the Commonwealth Games will be taking place on the ground but air chiefs have spent years preparing to keep the skies above Glasgow safe during the event.
A prohibited cylinder of air space has been put in place above the city, meaning that only commercial passenger planes, police, military and emergency medical aircraft can fly in the area up to 6,000ft (1,829m).
A restricted zone is in force further out which pilots must put in a request to enter at least two hours in advance.
Any aircraft which enters either zone without permission could be intercepted by a military aircraft such as a Typhoon and be met by police on landing.
Seventeen Royal Air Force air traffic controllers and Aerospace Battle Managers are working with Police Scotland and NATS air traffic controllers at the control tower at Glasgow Airport to manage airspace security during the Games.
Wing Commander Robin Stedman said: “The restricted air space is there to provide a buffer so we have time to take action if something is flying in.
“It could be someone lost or having problems with navigating equipment - that’s what I think is going to be the kind of incident we are responding to. There’s no expectation that we are going to be responding to a threat.
“If something comes in that we are not sure about, ideally Police Scotland would use their helicopter to go and have a look, and then there is a ramping-up of effects that could end up with a Typhoon coming up alongside.”
RAF personnel will be at the tower 24 hours a day, seven days a week until August 7, with airspace restrictions in place until August 6.
NATS air traffic controllers and staff at both Glasgow Airport’s control tower and the Prestwick Control Centre have been preparing and planning for the Games for two years to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Gary Dixon, general manager of NATS Glasgow, hopes that passengers travelling through the airport will not notice any difference.
He said: “In an ideal world it continues just as it normally would in June or July. It’s the busiest time for the airport with passengers going on their holidays, and hopefully the traffic for the Commonwealth Games just joins in to do that.
“We’ve spent quite a lot of time looking at what the demand for flights will be, both from a chartered and a scheduled perspective, and also from the business and the general aviation communities.
“Hopefully with the plan that we have and the plan that we have with the Prestwick centre and with the airport, we can allow people to go away on their holidays in the way that they normally would, and we get to see the Commonwealth Games come through the airport at the same time.”