AOA response to the FM’s statement on lockdown easements in Scotland

Commenting on the First Minister’s statement to the Scottish Parliament on the easing of lockdown in Scotland, Airport Operators Association Chief Executive Karen Dee said:

“The First Minister’s commitment to ensure travel restrictions are not in place for longer than is necessary is welcome but the lack of a commitment to set out a risk-based approach for aviation’s restart was disappointing.

“While public health considerations are, of course, the priority, now is the time for the Scottish Government to work on a four-nation basis with industry to set out a pathway to aviation’s restart. This will provide certainty for the public and the aviation industry to plan for the months ahead.

“A differentiated approach across the UK would be confusing for passengers and potentially undermine public confidence in the robust measures that will be in place to ensure a safe restart. Meanwhile, Scottish airports are likely to struggle to attract airlines to reopen routes compared to airports in other areas of the UK and the EU where a clearer pathway to recovery is in place. This will undermine the economic and social recovery from the pandemic.

“As a minimum, the Scottish Government should support the aviation industry through the government-ordered shutdown of aviation. The commitment for rates relief in the coming financial year was a welcome first step but significantly more support will be needed to ensure there are viable airports able to restart when the time comes.”