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Concern over lost traffic

Ministers ‘dithering’ over testing says airports boss

Derek Provan

Derek Provan: ‘we must act now’

Glasgow and Aberdeen airports boss Derek Provan accused government ministers of “dithering” over the introduction of testing passengers for coronavirus.

Mr Provan said there had been seven months of talks, but still no decision had been taken.

“We have the suppliers, the test kits and processes but we have dithering from government stopping us from opening again,” he said during a webinar organised by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Provan, chief executive of ASG Airports, said the government would be issuing rapid tests to students to allow them to go home and asked why the same tests could not be given to airline passengers.

He warned that the continued freeze on movement was in danger of seeing Scottish airports lose traffic elsewhere.

He said there was consolidation in the industry, such as British Airways moving flights from Gatwick to London, which should concern regional bases.

“We have to make sure we are on the front foot to ensure we do not lose business,” he said.

Mr Provan said Glasgow will be preparing next year to welcome the world to the COP26 climate change summit and the boost it would bring to the economy.

“If we do not act now we will lose the opportunity to showcase the city,” he said.

Also speaking during the webinar, Glasgow in the Covid-19 World, Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower, said expectations around COP26 were “going through the roof” now that President-elect Joe Biden had said the US would be rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and other global movements.

Mr Anderson said he welcomed the Prime Minister’s call for all homes to be powered by wind energy over the next decade and that his company was keen to help make it happen.

But he warned that pledges had to be met with action to remove obstacles such as planning and support processes.

“If we want to meet those ambitions on de-carbonising we have unlock those processes,” he said.

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