THE boss of Glasgow Airport has said a direct rail link with Glasgow city centre should not be ruled out.

Glasgow and Renfrewshire councils have said they will be bringing forward plans for a shuttle service to Paisley Gilmour Street Station instead.

Comments from the Scottish Transport Secretary, Michael Matheson and Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council suggest the original plan has already been scrapped.

Concerns over the impact on the existing rail network led to warnings it was unsustainable.

Mark Johnston, Managing Director of Glasgow Airport was speaking at a Glasgow Talks event hosted by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

He listed the airports that Glasgow is compared with and said the city is the only one that either doesn’t have a rail link or has one under construction or under consideration.

A list of 16 airports all had a heavy or light rail link or were in the process of creating one.

Helsinki, Geneva, Birmingham, Cologne and Lyon all have a heavy rail link.

Hamburg, Edinburgh, Porto, Stuttgart and Toulouse all have a light rail or a metro to the airport.

The others compared to Glasgow, Bristol, Catania and Prague have one proposed and Nice and Naples have a project under construction.

Claims airports similar to Glasgow did not have direct rail links were part of the justification for scrapping the tram train direct link.

And instead a shuttle to the nearest station was proposed instead.

However, Mr Johnston said unless a better solution to the congestion problem can be found it must still be on the table.

He said “We remain open to be convinced”

Mr Johnston compared the rapid personal transit to Paisley option with the tram train direct link.

He said: “The tram train is a direct connection, no changing. With the pods you would change.

“We have been strong advocates of the tram/train link. It would take 18 minutes compared to 20minutes on the bus.”

He warned that congestion on the M8 was affecting journeys and an alternative to road was needed.

He said that the project was fully funded through the City deal and estimates of passenger usage ranged from 1.5m to 3m a year.

He added: “It is not a small number.”

The airport boss compared the situation accessing Glasgow Airport with others.

He said there are eight direct trains a day to Manchester Airport and 72 to Prestwick Airport but none to Glasgow Airport.

Mr Johnston said: “There is a general acceptance doing nothing is not an option.

A decision has been taken to look at an alternative. My take is we remain open to be convinced. There is talk of pods or a shuttle but something needs to happen.”

He added: “ Tram/Train doesn’t fix all our problems but there needs to be a balance of choice.”