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Discrepancy row

Call to even up cost of Covid testing for travellers

Express-Covid-test-Edinburgh-airport

Aviation businesses want a level playing field on testing

Aviation sector leaders want the Scottish Government to stop charging passengers returning to Scotland from abroad more than twice as much for a COVID test than travellers returning to England.

Airlines and airports say the Scottish Government confirmed on 11 May it would adopt a four nations approach and mirror plans in England.

A traffic light system, with a red, amber and green list of countries was introduced with a requirement for passengers returning from countries on the amber and green lists to take COVID tests.

But passengers returning to England are permitted to purchase tests from private suppliers, while in Scotland the regulations explicitly state that tests from private suppliers cannot be used.

A testing package for passengers arriving in Scotland from amber countries is £170 per person and £88pp for those arriving from green listed countries. Some private suppliers are offering testing options for as little as £20pp.

Airlines UK, the Airport Operators Association (AOA), AGS and Edinburgh airport now want an end to the discrepancy.

In a joint statement, the four chief executives of Airlines UK, AGS Airports, Edinburgh Airport, and the AOA, said: “On 11 May we were told the Scottish Government would adopt a four nations approach to the removal of the travel ban which had brought our industry to a standstill.

“Within a matter of days, it transpired Scottish passengers would be heavily penalised by having to pay twice as much for COVID tests than people in England.

“It is not fair that people in Scotland are being forced to bear such high costs when there are private suppliers offering the same tests that meet strict UK Government requirements for a fraction of the cost. 

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“This lack of parity with England will price many people out of travelling and will be a very real barrier to airports and airlines as we try to safely re-establish our connectivity.

“It will also push passengers to airports in England to avoid the cost of the Scottish Government’s testing package meaning they would not receive any form of data.

“We urgently need the Government to review its guidelines and introduce an equitable testing system that doesn’t penalise Scottish passengers. We have offered to work with the Government and its clinicians to help identify an affordable solution.”

New Glasgow-Belfast route

Stobart Air, operator of Aer Lingus Regional routes, has added a new daily route to its network, connecting Glasgow and Belfast.

It will operate initially with 11 flights weekly from 1 July, and will increase to 19 flights weekly in August.

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