Edinburgh airport considers city-centre luggage check-in to encourage use of public transport

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Passengers flying from Edinburgh Airport could be offered the option of city-centre check-in point for their luggage as a way of encouraging them to get a bus or a tram to the airport instead of driving.

Airport bosses say they still need to work out whether such an initiative would be viable, but they believe it could remove a logistical problem for many large groups and families with young children.

Edinburgh Airport wants to increase the number of passengers using pubic transport to get to and from the airport Edinburgh Airport wants to increase the number of passengers using pubic transport to get to and from the airport
Edinburgh Airport wants to increase the number of passengers using pubic transport to get to and from the airport

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Edinburgh already has 37 per cent of passengers using public transport to get to or from the airport - more than any other airport outside London - while 40 per cent travel by car. But the airport wants to increase the public transport share and predicts it will overtake the car within the next two years.

The city-centre luggage check-in point is one idea in the airport’s newly published Surface Access Strategy document, which highlights the need for a new link road to the airport but also explores how people can be persuaded to shift from car to public transport.

It says: “Where other options exist, transportation of luggage is often cited as the reason passengers choose to travel by car. This is particularly an issue for large groups and families with young children. If passengers could check their luggage at an easily accessible centre, possibly in the city centre or at home, they would be free to travel to the airport unhindered by heavy baggage.

“Further work is needed to understand the infrastructure and security implications, but the airport is committed to doing its part to support such an initiative in order to facilitate increased public transport usage.”

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The airport goes on to say it will start work “to understand the viability of check-in from remote locations, such as city centre or home” and collaborate with local hotels to develop airport check-in services for guests.

There are currently 12 direct bus routes to the airport, including services from as far away as Oban and Aberdeen, as well as the tram, which provides a direct link to Edinburgh city centre and a connection to mainline rail.

Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport, with passengers numbers forecast to climb steadily from last year’s 14.4 million to 20.1 million by 2030.

The strategy document says there will always be a need for vehicles to access the campus by road, but currently there in only one main road in and out of the airport - Eastfield Road, which often reached capacity at busy times prior to Covid.

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“With passenger volumes now almost fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels, it is unavoidable that the road will once again become gridlocked during peak periods, meaning disruption for passengers and adding unnecessary stress to what should be an exciting airport experience.

“Alongside efforts to grow and improve public transport connectivity, Edinburgh Airport is committed to delivering a second access road into the airport. This will improve the capacity and efficiency of the West Edinburgh road network, ensuring current and future demand can be met.”

Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “Although we are Edinburgh Airport, we are increasingly Scotland’s airport and we must ensure we are connected and accessible to people from Edinburgh, Elgin and Eigg.

“The existing road infrastructure in West Edinburgh is insufficient in busy periods today. Even with the significant mode share shift in favour of public transport, the absolute number of car movements will increase as the airport’s passenger base grows, meaning investment in infrastructure is essential.”

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The airport has proposed - and would pay for - construction of a secondary access road, the East Access Road, which will link the airport directly to the Gogar roundabout.

“The strategy document says: The proposed transportation corridor created by the new East Access Road will not generate additional traffic but will allow traffic to be redistributed from Eastfield Road. This will help alleviate traffic on the A8, provide better access to the wider road network for car and bus alike.”

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