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‘Five years for airlines to recover’ says Matheson

Edinburgh airport

Edinburgh airport will see fewer passengers for some time (pic: Terry Murden)

Air passengers will have to endure “at least five years” of disruption before services return to pre-Covid levels, according to the Scottish Transport Secretary.

Michael Matheson made the admission in a parliamentary written answer to Dean Lockhart, Scottish Conservative shadow Transport and Business Secretary.

His reply stated that some slow recovery in air services was anticipated over the summer, first with domestic, then international routes in line with the SNP government’s phased exit out of lockdown.

Mr Matheson added that “realistically, it will take at least five years for services to recover to pre-Covid-19 levels.”

The revelation prompted calls from the Scottish Conservatives for the SNP Government to bring forward urgent economic recovery plans to mitigate the considerable impact of such disruption. 

The issue comes as airlines introduce scaled-back schedules and job losses are expected at British Airways, easyJet and at airport baggage handling firm Menzies.

Mr Lockhart said: “The revelation that our airline industry will be disrupted for at least five years shows that this economic crisis will have savage consequences.

Dean Lockhart: ‘savage consequences’ (pic: Terry Murden)

“The potential loss of jobs within our airline services, as well as the wider economic impact of lack of tourism and travel will change our economy irreparably.

“The SNP government is clearly aware of this problem and yet we have no idea how they intend to address it.

“The SNP must consider any and all options to revitalise our economy before it’s too late.

“We have all the indications of a massive economic shock, the SNP government has all the powers it needs – it must act now to get our country moving.”

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