Old Glasgow Club

Minutes of an Ordinary meeting of the Old Glasgow Club held at Adelaide’s, 209 Bath Street on Thursday 14th April 2011 at 7.30pm





Mr Gordon (President)


Mr Gordon welcomed all to the meeting.


The minutes of the last ordinary meeting held on Thursday 10th March were approved, proposed by George Kerr and seconded by Margaret Thom. There were no amendments or matters arising.

Presidents report

With regret Mr Gordon announced the death of Marjorie Davidson. Mrs Davidson was a long standing member of the club who was at one point minute secretary and latterly helped serve the tea and coffee. Mr Gordon announced that a card would be sent on behalf of the Club and informed those present of the funeral details.

Mr Gordon reported that as Membership Secretary he has registration details available for the 2011-2012 session and will take prior registration forms at the AGM. Those members not present will have details and forms posted.

Secretarys report

Mrs McNae reminded the 40 participants of the Fairfields Office tour on April 16th 2011 to wrap up warm and wear sturdy shoes. The group will meet at the gate on Govan Road at 10am.

The visit to Paxton House on 11th June has 3 spaces available on the bus. Tickets are £18.

The Tappit Hen changes venue this year to Queens Park Greens and later to Queens Park Bowling Club for a post-match supper. The event is on Thursday 26th May and tickets are £7.50. All are welcome, even non-bowlers.

The J.A.S. Wilson Memorial Walk is around Pollokshaws this year and will start at 6.30pm on Thursday 30th June.

There are a few tickets left for the BBC Scotland River City set visit on Saturday 2nd July 2011 at 12.15pm. If interested please see Margaret Thom.

The next meeting will be the Annual General Meeting, held on Thursday 12th May in the Council Chamber of the City Chambers. Please bring membership cards as they may be required for entry to the building.

There will be a raffle at the end of tonight’s meeting.


Mr Gordon introduced our speaker Mr Stuart White who would talk on The History of Glasgow Airport. Mr White is the BAA Development Director at Glasgow Airport.

The role of any airport must meet the needs of both airline operators and the travelling public and this has been reflected in the history of the airport and also in its future development, the draft masterplan up to 2040 having been recently published.

The history of aviation in the West of Scotland is well documented, starting in 1895 with gliders being seen on the banks of the Clyde 8 years before Orville and Wilbur Wrights’ original flight. The current site of the airport at Abbotsinch was in close proximity to Beardmore’s in Inchinnan which produced the R34 airship in 1919.

The original Glasgow Airport was created in Renfrew in 1918, at what was Moorpark Aerodrome and was used during WWI. In 1925 it became the home of RAF 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron Auxiliary Air Force. 602 Squadron moved to Abbotsinch Aerodrome in 1933 to build up what is the core of today’s airport. The airport passed from RAF control to the Royal Navy in 1943 and was known as HMS Sanderling. Renfrew Aerodrome was used for passenger flights while Abbotsinch was in military use. In 1963 Abbotsinch ceased to be a military airfield and became a passenger airport once Glasgow Corporation officially took possession on 2nd May 1966. The old Renfrew Airport was demolished although the runway still exists as a stretch of the M8 near the Arkleston exit. Abbotsinch underwent a £4.2 million refit under the design of architect Sir Basil Spence to become Glasgow Airport. The original Spence arches now form part of the check-in area.  The army barracks are still there as staff offices. Originally Glasgow Airport handled UK and intra-European flights with Prestwick Airport holding the monopoly on transatlantic flights.

In the 1970’s the availability of affordable package holidays to European destinations increased passenger numbers dramatically. The British Airport Authority (BAA) took over the airport in 1975 and in the 1980s, the restrictions on Glasgow Airport flights were lifted and the transatlantic operators immediately moved from Prestwick to Glasgow Airport which was renamed Glasgow International Airport. By 2003 passenger numbers had reached 8 million per year. In 2006 BAA (now a privatised company) was bought over by the ADI consortium headed by the Spanish group Ferrovial.

In 2010 Glasgow airport statistics include a 2,665 metre runway, 38-44 airport parking stands (depending on aircraft size), 1 main terminal and a smaller hall (T2) for package holiday flights, 2 aircraft maintenance bases and an average of 6.5 million passengers. There are 30 airline companies which offer over 90 destinations. Prior to 2006 Glasgow was the busiest airport in Scotland although Edinburgh has now overtaken in passenger numbers. The economic downturn has hit the airport due to the collapse of several airline and holiday companies however the statistics indicate a 2% growth in numbers per annum.

A recent survey has shown that 70% of passengers are from the Glasgow area, 53% of all flights are domestic/47% international, 29% of flights are for business compared with 71% for leisure. There are currently 4,430 people employed by the 117 companies within the airport and a total of 6,160 jobs within the region.

BAA is not responsible for the operation of flights, updating flight information screens, providing customs or immigration services, providing baggage handling or check-in services, policing the airport or managing the airspace or determining flight paths. BAA is responsible for providing the in-house passenger security services within the airport and perimeter. Since the terrorist attack on 30th June 2007 BAA Limited has invested £5 million into the security of the terminal and its surrounding area. It also maintains a 24 hour fire service, maintenance of the terminal buildings and access roads and organises snow and ice clearance, currently investing £1.5million after the last 2 severe winters disrupted services.

Mr White then outlined the projected developments at the airport until 2040. These include utilising all the land currently owned by the airport but not in use (e.g. the old Walkinshaw brickworks) for expansion. The Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) development has been cancelled by the current SNP government however this may be revised should another party be elected. By 2030 there will be developments to the existing 3 piers to accommodate larger planes. And by 2040 a second runway will be built if required.

In 2009 a government competition commission ruled that BAA must sell 3 of its stock airports: Stanstead, Gatwick and either Glasgow or Edinburgh. Gatwick has now been sold and despite an appeal the ruling still stands. Stanstead will be sold first and it is yet to be decided if Glasgow or Edinburgh will follow.

Mr White then answered some questions.

Q. Why bother with GARL if there are only a few times per day that the train will be busy?

A. At the moment 9% use public transport to get to the airport, the aim is for this to increase to 20%. Currently passengers have to get a train to Paisley Gilmour Street then a number 66 bus, not ideal for tourists. Compared to other international airports the public transport links are poor.

Q. Will Ryanair ever have a presence at Glasgow Airport?

A. BAA won’t bring in the wrong airlines at the wrong price. Edinburgh airport has a deal with Ryanair whereby their landing fees are below the market price. Glasgow can’t afford to bring in Ryanair at a similar price. Since the retail developments at Glasgow are still ongoing income must come from the landing fees. There has to be a careful balance between the two incomes. The arrival of Jet2 airlines this summer should help redress the balance.

Q. Retail prices are very expensive, could prices be dropped?

A. The prices are benchmark high street prices. As mentioned before retail sales are a major factor in profitability.

Q. There was once a BAA office in St Enoch Square which allowed checking in and a pick up to the airport. Would this be feasible now?

A. Probably not, given the current security status. Mr White commented that a significant amount of passengers now check-in online.

Q. Who de-ices the aeroplanes?

A. Currently several companies co-ordinate with each other in adverse weather conditions.

Q. Are there regular emergency drills?

A. One every week with the fire service. A special training aeroplane is set on fire for their practice. Sometimes this can be spotted from the main road.

Q. There was once a viewing gallery where everyone could watch the planes taking off. Are there plans for another?

A. Currently no. Security issues mean this would be difficult to maintain. For future developments it could be factored in.


Vote of Thanks

Mrs Forrest thanked Mr White for his informative talk.


A raffle was drawn, with numerous prizes.



Next Directors Meeting- Thursday 5th May 2011

Annual General Meeting – Thursday 12th May 2011, membership cards will be required for entry to the city chambers.


Mr Gordon wished all a safe journey home.


P Cairns, Recording Secretary.