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FM's views 'not helpful'

Aviation ‘facing demise like coal in the 1980s’

Glasgow Airport

Airports are calling for testing

Airport chief Derek Provan says the First Minister’s call for Scots to holiday at home “is not helpful” as he warns the industry faces a demise on the scale of the coal industry.

Derek Provan, chief executive of ASG Airports which runs Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton airports, said: “The UK government is overseeing the demise of the aviation industry.

“We are seeing more job losses than we saw in the demise of the coal industry in the 1980s.

“That, surely, cannot be an accolade that any government would like to have.”

Asked in an interview what he made of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urging Scots to holiday at home, he replied: “It’s not helpful.”

Aviation bosses are calling for quarantine to be replaced by testing of passengers to head off a collapse in travel which will wipe out tens of thousands of jobs.

Derek Provan

Derek Provan: government faces unwanted accolade

Rising Covid cases prompted the Scottish Government to announce travellers from Greece would have to self-isolate for 14 days from today (Thursday), while Wales began asking arrivals from the island of Zante to enter quarantine. Portugal may also be added to the quarantine list.

France and Germany are already using testing at airports for passengers arriving from countries with a higher infection rate.

UK government ministers have been considering whether to support testing at British airports and have look at a two-test system to reduce the risk of someone who recently contracted the virus giving a “false negative” result.

Under that system two negative results, several days apart, would mean someone would not have to quarantine for the full 14-day period.

The UK’s biggest tour operator Tui has suspended its holidays to the resort of Laganas on Zante.

Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye has called on the Government to stop imposing “quarantine roulette” on travellers.

He said the constantly shifting quarantine rules led to an ‘unprecedented’ 82% drop in passenger numbers in August compared with last year.

Heathrow recently announced a pre-tax loss of £1.1 billion in the first six months of the year.

“Ultimately our aim is for testing and quarantine to happen before you fly, removing the risk of quarantine on landing,” said Mr Holland-Kaye.

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His comments came as the airport announced it may have to axe up to 1,200 frontline staff due to the pandemic’s impact on air travel.

Dozens of Tory MPs, including ex-ministers, have joined calls for airport virus testing.

They are requesting an urgent Commons debate to demand answers over the lack of government action on the issue.

The airline industry believes that testing to slash the 14-day quarantine period is the best way to give people the confidence to travel.

Virgin Atlantic yesterday took a step closer to implementing its rescue package, with a High Court judge signing off on the company’s £1.2 billion bailout.

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