Message to MPs

Fragmented Covid plan ‘not helpful’ say airport chiefs

Glasgow airport at the height of the pandemic

Scotland’s airports have criticised inconsistent travel restrictions across the UK for undermining confidence among consumers.

Spokesmen for the airports in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and the Highlands told MPs that that a more coordinated approach would have been better for the sector and passengers.

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, told the Scottish Affairs committee that there had been a “complete collapse in consumer confidence because the restrictions have been overly complex”.

Brian McClean, communications officer for Glasgow and Aberdeen, said: “It is important there is a joined up approach” while Inglis Lyon, managing director of Highlands and Island Airports, added: “The lack of a four nations approach on international travel was not helpful at all and difficult to explain.”

Mr Dewar said Edinburgh had lost £100 million and had taken on additional debt and warned that there were still few signs of international visitor numbers recovering.

He said uncertainty was a big factor in discouraging travellers from booking flights.

“Consumers just do not know what to expect,” he said.

Mr McClean said passenger levels at Glasgow had sunk from 9m in 2019 to 2m in 2021, a figure last seen in 1973.

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