Chamber welcomes Transport Minister’s ARDF invitation
Published by Simon Gwynn on Sat 09 Jun 12 @ 22:10
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick welcomed an invitation to the business community by Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown to help overcome "severely restrictive" EU regulations on start-up aid for new air services.
Mr Brown, delivering the keynote speech at the Transport Summit 2011: Connect to Compete in Glasgow on Friday (September 9), tackled the issue of Air Route Development Funding (ARDF), which would encourage the development of new services from Scottish airports.
Addressing over 100 delegates from transport companies, businesses and organisations at the city's Hilton Hotel, he said: "The current EU guidelines on start-up aid for new air services are severely restrictive. We believe guidelines should be revised to ensure that economic benefits from air services can be maximised. If there are ideas out there, then come and talk to us. We're as keen to tackle this as you are."
Stuart Patrick said: "This is what we wanted to hear from the Scottish Government. As Keith Brown highlighted today, a quarter of journeys from Glasgow Airport are made by business travellers. It is vitally important for business growth that the connectivity of Glasgow and the West of Scotland to key overseas markets is increased.
"There are certainly EU competition rules in place, but we believe they can be overcome. I can promise Mr Brown that we will soon be knocking on his door on this issue."
Stuart Patrick also welcomed a statement that "a positive announcement" would be made soon on Fastlink - the proposed high frequency dedicated bus link running between Glasgow city centre and several local and regional destinations, including Glasgow Harbour and the SECC.
He said: "Renewed urgency is needed to ensure that Fastlink is completed in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2014."
The Transport Summit, hosted for the second year by Glasgow Chamber, saw panel discussions led on four headings - strategy, the commuter's journey, getting goods to market and the expectations of the business and leisure traveller.