BOSSES at Edinburgh Airport are calling for the hub to be directly linked to the M8 – as they said the existing access road could not cope with growing passenger numbers.
It is hoped the airport will eventually be able to handle up to 20 million passengers a year, and owners are also looking to expand the security area as a priority to help cope with growing numbers.
Chief executive Gordon Dewar revealed the top priorities for Scotland’s busiest airport as senior officials accused successive British governments of failing to invest in air transport infrastructure.
Edinburgh has thrown its support behind a proposal to open a second runway at both Gatwick and Stansted airports in a submission to the independent Airports Commission, which makes recommendations on aviation policy.
Speaking about Edinburgh’s own expansion, Mr Dewar said there were no plans to open a second runaway at Ingliston for the next 30 years.
But he said: “We have an airport that is accommodating just over nine million passengers a year, but we’re very busy and we’re growing.”
Plans for a major 125-bedroom hotel near the main entrance to Edinburgh Airport were also unveiled recently, and the airport boss said improvements to Eastfield Road – the airport’s main entrance connecting to the A8 – and a future link to the M8 were priorities.
“We’ve lobbied very openly about the need to preserve a future connection to the M8,” he said.
“We know that’s not part of the Scottish Government’s current plans, but we know five or six years down the line, no matter what we do, Eastfield Road is not sufficient.”
Expanding the security screening area at the airport is also considered a top priority.
Mr Dewar said: “We’re looking very hard at the moment at the ability to expand our security at capacity. We know that we don’t have too much more time to resolve that.
“We’re talking about physical space. We’ve currently got a hall that at peak is very busy.”
Facial recognition cameras were installed throughout the bag check and security area in April in efforts to slash long queues.
Mr Dewar said the long-term forecast was to reach 20 million passengers a year at Edinburgh on the existing runway configuration.
Mr Dewar said Edinburgh was also at risk of losing flights if the capacity of London’s existing airports – outside of an already full Heathrow – was not increased.
He said: “At the moment we’re serving all of London’s airports directly, but there is a possibility if there’s not sufficient capacity for growth, a very lucrative route from Rio de Janeiro may get precedence over a scheduled service in from Edinburgh.
“If London had more capacity, we would have had more connection opportunities out of London. There is genuinely a queue of airlines wanting to fly into London that currently can’t come there.”
Turkish Airlines increased the frequency of its Edinburgh to Istanbul route from May, with airport owner Global Infrastructure Partners also in discussions with Etihad and Qatar airways over potential direct flights to the Middle East.