THE rail link to Glasgow Airport is likely to be ditched in favour of a shuttle system to Paisley.

A Personal Rapid Transit shuttle pod between Glasgow Airport and Paisley Gilmour Street has emerged as the likely alternative to a full tram-train rail link.

Following a meeting between Glasgow and Renfrewshire council leaders, the Transport Secretary and Glasgow Airport yesterday, it has been agreed to work on a business case for the Personal Rapid Transit system.

It would see passengers board the pods like ones used at Heathrow Airport to take them to the station at Paisley where they would catch existing services to Glasgow and elsewhere.

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The final choice will be between the tram-train option and the Personal Rapid Transit pod.

It is, however, likely that the rapid transit option will be the preferred one and the option taken forward.

The tram-train link hit problems following a study that said it would impact negatively on other services in the West of Scotland and on Central Station which is at capacity.

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Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Improved connectivity to Glasgow Airport is a key priority. However, the advice from officers and consultants is that significant questions remain about the deliverability of the current tram-train option, particularly in relation to capacity at Central Station.

“As a result, the Executive Steering Group has agreed additional work should be done to establish an alternative Outline Business Case for a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) option.

“This work was not advanced by the previous City Deal Cabinet, but it is now crucial in order to allow us to make a fully-informed choice about which of the options in front of us should be progressed.

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“I remain committed to a solution that delivers improved public transport connectivity to Glasgow Airport - but I am determined it should also provide value for money for the city, and deliver the widest possible inclusive economic benefits.

“I’m confident we have made significant progress towards that outcome today.”

Glasgow Airport said congestion on the M8 means action is needed and “doing nothing is not an option.”

Mark Johnston, managing director at Glasgow Airport, said: “We were informed that, due to issues around rail capacity, the project partners are developing an alternative option.

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“This will be evaluated and we will, of course, work with the partners to promote the delivery of an effective solution within the agreed timescale.”

It has been understood that transport officials were not keen on progressing the tram-train link from Glasgow Central to the airport.

Michael Matheson, Transport Secretary, said: “It’s crucial that improving access to Glasgow Airport is balanced with the needs of the region’s existing transport network.

“The Personal Rapid Transit system option potentially meets this aim, and I look forward to seeing the revised business case once it’s completed.”