LONDON – Glasgow Airport revealed that 250,000 fewer passengers flew through the airport in 2018, compared to the previous year.

In 2018, 9.7 million passed through Scotland’s second busiest airport, compared to the 9.9 million during 2017.

Glasgow does not expect to see any growth in 2019. However, it anticipates to see some passenger growth return in 2020.

Edinburgh Airport, Scotland’s busiest airport, had a record-breaking number of passengers in 2018. It grew by 6.5% and catered 14.3 million passengers last year.

The decline in Glasgow’s passenger numbers, compared to 2017, has been influenced by a number of factors, particularly a number of route cuts. Ryanair axed 20 of its 23 routes and closed Glasgow as a base.

It also moved serval routes to Edinburgh: Lisbon, Riga, and Berlin in Germany to name a few.

American Airlines has also axed it’s Philadephia link and has moved it to Edinburgh for Summer 2019. United’s Newark flights are now seasonal only.

TUI has cut its based fleet from two Boeing 757-200s to only one. Thomas Cook has also reduced its Long Haul flights, axing the twice a week Las Vegas flights.

A spokesman from the airport stated that “While the Ryanair announcement was in February last year, the full effect is being felt this year, but we expect to return to growth in 2020.”

Despite this, Jet2 continues to dominate Glasgow and plans to add a seventh based aircraft in the near future.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 TUI

TUI is also transitioning Glasgow to a Boeing 737 MAX base, as well as restoring the second based aircraft during 2019.

Emirates announced at the end of last year that the A380 will start operations at Glasgow in April, due to the Dubai Airport runway closure.

The airport has spent over £8 million to improve it’s infrastructure, in order to handle the superjumbo.

Glasgow has also revealed that, according to a report carried about by York Aviation, it contributed £1.44 billion to the Scottish Economy last year, supporting over 30,000 direct and indirect jobs as well.

The report also predicts by 2040 Glasgow will support an additional 13,000 jobs, generating £2.57 billion for the Economy and handle around 17 million passengers.

In relation to the study, another Airport Spokesman said, “The more recent figures take account of more up-to-date data and therefore slightly diferent.”

These projects are great, but the airport has once again renewal calls for a rail link.

During the early 2000s, a rail link was tabled and planned, however it was canceled in 2009, due to spending cuts, after the 2008 fincial crash. This has left the airport at a disadvantage from it’s two central belt competitors,

Edinburgh and Prestwick. Both have a form of the rail link, Edinburgh with the Tram link to the City Centre and Prestwick with the train, connecting it directly to Glasgow central train station.

In relation to the projections, Mark Johnston Managing Director of the airport has said “We have invested more than £130 million in our facilities since 2011 and have a strategy in place through our master plan to put us on the path to becoming a 17-million passenger airport by 2040.”

“We can’t do this on our own and it is imperative that through the ongoing support of our city and national partners we ensure Glasgow Airport continues to thrive and deliver for Scotland.”

He added, “To do this we also need to address the current constraints such as motorway congestion and delivering the planned rail link.”

The Ryanair pull out and other subsequent cutbacks have had a knock-on effect on the Airports passenger growth, reversing it during 2018, and will have a significant impact during 2019.

However, with Emirates upgrading one of its flights to A380s in the Summer, Jet2 adding an additional based Aircraft and TUI restoring it’s second based aircraft will certainly ease the impact of 2018.