Glasgow has two domestic airports, and if you’ve ever been abroad you’ll know them well - Glasgow International Airport and Glasgow Prestwick Airport.
Today we wanted to look at the more obscure aircraft hangers, airports, and heliports in and around Glasgow - and the forgotten airports of times gone-by.
How many of these old and obscure airports in around Glasgow did you know of before? Let us know in the comments!
1. Cumbernauld Airport
The new town of Cumbernauld is home to many things - ancient Roman ruins, the worst town centre known to man, and apparently an airport as well. Cumbernauld Airport is located right on the boundary between North Lanarkshire and the City of Glasgow The airport is primarily used for the training of ‘fixed wing and rotary wing pilots’ - meaning it’s for small, light aircraft only. It also boasts a helicopter charter company and a light aircraft charter operation, along with an aircraft maintenance facility. This means if you really wanted to, and had enough cash, you yourself could fly out from the bright lights of Cumbernauld. Opened by the Cumbernauld Development Corpororation in the late 1980s, the airport had their own airshow for a time, with the Red Arrows and a mock dog-fight between two WW2 era planes. You can even view a live feed of Cumbernauld Airport landing strip on their website.
2. Glasgow Seaplane Terminal
Glasgow Seaplane Terminal is a seaplane airport terminal in Glasgow. It’s the city’s newest airport, only opening in August 2007. Unlike other Glasgow airports (Prestwick and Glasgow International), this airport is actually within the city. The terminal is located in the ‘Princes Dock’ in the Pacific Quay area of the city, just across the Clyde from the Glasgow Science Centre The terminal is the only city centre commercial seaplane service in operation in Europe. The terminal is operated by Loch Lomond Seaplanes - with flights taking Glaswegians into the sky to see the city from above.
3. Glasgow City Heliport
We might be stretching the definition of airport with this heliport, but hey, they’re aircraft right? Glasgow City Heliport can be found in Govan on Linthouse Road nearby the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. The heliport is owned and operated by Babcock Mission Critical Services Onshore Ltd and is the operating base for the Police Scotland’s air support unit. Prior to May 2014, the heliport was located about one and a half miles east from its present location - nearby the Glasgow Seaplane Terminal -within the grounds of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre and directly across the River Clyde from the Glasgow Science Centre. Planned future development of the SECC area enforced the move. The heliport can also handle an amount of passenger traffic - although facilities are limited at the small heliport - with priority given to Police. The ground facilities consist of a maintenance hangar building and parking for six small to medium-sized helicopters.
4. Renfrew airport
Renfrew Airport is the predessecor to Glasgow International Airport - a domestic airport that served the city of Glasgow prior to its demolition in 1966.
It was located in the Newmains area of Renfrew, just over a mile from where the new Glasgow Airport would be built. Renfrew was much smaller than Glasgow Airport - consisting only of a main terminal building and a few ancillary buildings - with a main runway which ran west south-west of the terminal.
It became evident midway through the 20th century that the airport wasn’t going to be able to cope with the ever-increasing demands for domestic air travel in the 1960s. The final departure took place on May 2 1966 – its destination being the new Glasgow Airport, just a few hundred metres away. The site is now a Tesco superstore and has been partially paved over for the M8 motorway - the flat straight section of this part of the M8 in Renfrew is actually paved over the original runway. The entire airport was demolished in 1978. Arkleston Primary School (1972) and a Tesco superstore (1980) were built on the former terminal site, and the whole of the surrounding area is now covered with housing.
The only trace left of the airport is the Flying Scotsman pub, which was the Hertz car rental building, opposite the terminal building.