A Scottish airport boss has warned that holidaymakers will have to travel to England to head abroad in the future unless urgent action is taken.
Glasgow Airport head Derek Provan revealed airlines are already moving many routes to England as he hit out at Holyrood.
The CEO of AGS Airports, which also runs Aberdeen Airport, said the promised task force to help save the industry has yet to have a single meeting, reports the Daily Record.
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He said: “What we do know is that airlines have told Scottish ministers they’ll be checking out of Scotland and taking with them the routes we’ve spent decades building up.
“This could mean having to travel to England in future to go on holiday. The Scottish Government can’t allow this to happen.”
Provan also warned of holidaymakers could face similar problems to those experienced in the ’80s, when people in Scotland had to travel south of the Border for international flights.
Claiming that Transport Minister Michael Matheson had let them down, he added: “It’s now been over one month since the Cabinet Secretary for Transport announced plans to establish an aviation working group to help the sector here in Scotland. But a date has still to be set for a first meeting.
“In the interim, the Prime Minister has established a Global Travel Taskforce, which on April 12 will set out recommendations for the safe restart of international travel for airports in England.
“This doesn’t guarantee dates for when planes can take to the skies but it does allow airlines to make plans to get the sector and the economy moving again.
“In Scotland, we have no such framework to work with and no idea when this will end.”
He also accused the Scottish Government of risking public health and thousands of jobs with “unworkable” hotel
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced in February that Scotland’s air travel rules would go further than England, Wales and Northern Ireland. While international arrivals to England are only forced to quarantine in hotels if they have come from high-risk countries, the rule applies to everyone entering from outwith the UK in Scotland.
Provan said: “My teams ask when it will end, when will we be able to work and when can passengers return to the skies?
“I can’t answer these questions. We’re told the vaccine is the route out of the crisis, yet we have no indication from the Scottish Government on when it will start to remove layers of the restrictions that effectively closed our borders.
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“We’ve always been clear we support the need for emergency measures to bring the virus under control. However, they can’t remain in place indefinitely and risk jobs, connectivity and Scotland’s economy.
“We want to work with the Scottish Government to find the best solution but to do so it must engage with the industry.
“To date, no such meaningful engagement has happened – this has led to the unworkable managed hotel quarantine policy.
“The managed quarantine policy means any international passenger who flies directly into Scotland must pay £1750 to stay in a hotel for 10 days.
“This differs from the UK Government’s approach, which requires passengers who arrive from a ‘red-listed’ country to hotel quarantine.
“The lack of engagement has not only resulted in widespread confusion among passengers, it has left Government officials confused.
“This came to light in the case of the first two passengers who were told to stay in managed isolation before being sent home the next day.
“The loophole, one we pre-warned the Government about, allows international passengers who arrive in Scotland via Dublin or any English airport to avoid a hotel quarantine.
“This is the worst of both worlds as it doesn’t protect public health in the way intended and it inflicts further damage on aviation.”
Edinburgh Airport has blamed the cancellation of Turkish Airlines’ direct service to Istanbul on quarantine rules, while boss Gordon Dewar blasted the Scottish Government’s “woefully inadequate” vaccine roll out plans.
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Appearing at Holyrood in December, the chief executive of Edinburgh Airport called on the Scottish Government to accept help from the private sector.
Provan added: “Our airports came to an almost complete standstill and that remains the case. Passenger numbers were down by as much as 99 per cent.
“Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost and it is going to be the latter part of this decade before we recover.”
The Scottish Government said: “Decisions on reopening of the travel industry will be guided by public health evidence in the context of the Strategic Framework.”