Airport swoops in to back sport base bid

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar. Picture: Jane Barlow
Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar. Picture: Jane Barlow
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THE Capital’s bid to secure the National Performance Centre for Sport is set for take-off after Edinburgh Airport confirmed its backing along with a new travel services for athletes.

The boost from Scotland’s leading air transport hub comes as Edinburgh campaigns to be named home of the £25 million centre – a vast new athletics village designed to train sports stars of the future.

Meeting rooms, priority check-in and security, lounge access and business service support are among the facilities which would be offered.

Gordon Dewar, the airport’s chief executive, said: “Edinburgh Airport will be proud to contribute to the success of the National Performance Centre for Sport at Heriot-Watt University. We believe the combination of location in the capital city and the quality of the facilities and services in Edinburgh’s bid are second to none.

“Those visiting the centre from outside of Scotland can be assured of an excellent Scottish welcome at Edinburgh Airport and those leaving to compete can be assured of the best send-off and preparation as they go.”

A site at Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus has been shortlisted alongside rival locations in Stirling and Dundee as a possible base for the NPCS, with a decision expected in late summer.

Airport bosses said services offered would be tailored and branded to the specific needs of the NPCS. Gleneagles Hotel, international airline partners and civic and cultural leaders travelling through the airport already benefit from similar levels of support, they added.

News of the airport’s backing has been hailed by academic, political and sports chiefs, who said it would be a “significant” factor in the success of Edinburgh’s push to become NPCS host city.

Edinburgh Western SNP MSP Colin Keir said: “I’m delighted to see the airport is supporting the bid. Anything that enhances it is fully welcome. We’re up against some very strong competition but it’s significant that major players in the business community in Edinburgh are welcoming and supporting the bid.”

Professor Steve Chapman, principal of Heriot-Watt University, said: “We have a wide range of backing for Heriot-Watt’s bid to host the National Performance Centre for Sport, and it’s tremendous to see this practical support from Edinburgh Airport.

“Transport links are a key component of the Edinburgh bid, especially given the importance for top athletes of travelling between training and international competition,

Councillor Richard Lewis, culture and sport leader, said: “Edinburgh Airport has an international reputation for excellence proven by the fact it has been voted Best in Europe three years running.

“It is this ethos of excellence that we plan to bring to an Edinburgh-based National Performance Centre for Sport and having supportive partners, like Edinburgh Airport, help us to deliver on this.”

johnpaul.holden@jpress.co.uk