A RAIL link to Glasgow Airport is needed now more than ever as congestion on the M8 is shown to be increasing the airport’s boss has said.

Yesterday, the Evening Times revealed a transport report showing 16,000 more vehicles a day using the stretch of motorway between the city centre to the airport.

Airport management are calling for the tram/train link project to be fast tracked to allow an alternative method of reaching the airport.

The Glasgow Airport Access Project is part of the £1bn City Deal to take trains from Glasgow Central to the airport terminal via Paisley.

It stalled after a report raised concerns about the impact on the wider rail network in the west of Scotland and capacity at Glasgow Central.

The city deal cabinet commissioned studies to investigate the concerns and determine possible solutions.

Now Glasgow Airport have said the time has come to get the project moving and start planning again to build the link.

Mark Johnston, Managing Director, said: The only choice just now is to drive along the M8.

“The airport rail link would relieve the M8 of at least 10% of airport traffic.It can be the difference between congestion and free flowing traffic.”

He said that the projections were for between 1.5million and 3million passengers a year.

The initial projections were that 10% would use a rail link.

However an Airport survey of 1000 passengers found 30% said they would use a rail link which would put the potential number at 3million.

Mr Johnston added: “It is not only people flying in and out of the airport that would use the link.

“We know there are 35,000 people working in and around the airport trying to get here every day.

“The National Manufacturing Institute is expected to create another 10,000 jobs, which is fantastic for the region.”

He said that there is an ambition to grow tourism in Glasgow by one million people, adding more pressure on the road network.

Mr Johnston added: “We need to fix the transport network to the airport.

“We have two bus stops and a bike lane. It I not adequate.”

While the project is being held up the congestion on the M8 is growing, impacting on the airport and the wider economy.

Mr Johnston added: “We would like things to be moving along quicker. We need a plan of action. We cannot allow this to drift.

“There is no plan to address the M8 congestion but we have a plan that has been worked out. The money is in the bank and it is the best way forward to resolve this. The rail link should be fast tracked.”

Glasgow City and Renfrewshire councils are partners in the project.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “The City Government and the City Region Cabinet remain committed to finding an appropriate solution which ensures proper surface access to Glasgow Airport which maximises the benefits to all in the City Region. “Following the publication of the report into the project by leading consultants Jacobs, the City Region Cabinet agreed to take the appropriate time to examine the findings and ensure the Airport Access Project is able to lever the economic, social and environmental benefits that it has the potential to deliver.

“Officers continue to work with Jacobs and Transport Scotland to examine all of those factors and ensure we can deliver a sustainable solution to connectivity issues between Glasgow Airport and the City Region.”

A spokesman for Transport Scotland, said: “We want to see improved connectivity in and around Glasgow and the City Region deal will continue to have our full support to ensure it succeeds. Our commitment therefore remains to work with our partners to find solutions to improve access to Glasgow Airport, recognising the significant challenges the delivery of any rail link to Glasgow Airport will bring.

“It is important that the Glasgow Airport Access Project team work to ensure that the business case for any interventions is robust, and both Transport Scotland and Network Rail will continue to work with the project team to look at potential improvements to the existing rail network.

“We are also currently considering how managed motorway solutions can help to improve the performance of the M8 and maximise best use of the existing transport infrastructure, including connections to the airport.”