All UK airports over a certain size are statutorily required to have an Airport Consultative Committee. Glasgow Prestwick’s ACC was one of the first, having been in existence since the late 1960’s, and infact pre-dates the legislation. The UK Government, through the DfT, issue Guidance for the operation of Airport Consultative Committees. GPACC take full account of this Guidance in its constitution, operation and role. The role of the Committee is to provide greater understanding both to the community, about airport operations and to the airport management company, about the local and environmental impacts of those operations and future proposals.
GPACC are fully independent of Prestwick’s owners and operators. This is helpful given the role that the Committee has. The Committee has worked effectively with a number of owners and operators over the years and has always acted in a role which can be summarised as one of “critical friend”. Since 2013 the airport has been owned by the Scottish Government and is operated by an arms length company, Glasgow Prestwick Airport Holdings.
The Committee has always recognised the airport’s role as an important local employer and an influential driver of the Ayrshire, South West Scotland and the Scottish economy and has sought to foster and promote this role where it can.
It also acts as a “critical friend” to the airport, monitoring change and challenging performance where necessary. It has a role in protecting and enhancing facilities for passengers, to improve the passenger experience. It promotes the exchange of information and ideas, helps monitor trends and increases effectiveness by drawing on local knowledge.
The Committee does not hold executive powers, nor is it a dispute resolution forum. However, it works, where it can, to promote discussion and resolution of any differences.
The CEO of GPA attends GPACC meetings and presents a quarterly report but is not formally a member of the Committee. In order for GPACC to carry out its role, it is essential that GPA managers participate fully in committee proceedings and engage with the committee at an early stage so that the committee can be involved with future plans and take a constructive role in their development, taking advantage of the specific knowledge and expertise members may have. The management should be willing to be influenced by the discussions and opinions of the Committee in order to make the process of consultation meaningful and they should be clear about where and why the Committee’s views cannot influence a situation.
The Committee’s Principles
GPACC work to a set of principles:
- Constructive and effective