Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has called for support for the aviation industry and workers in his constituency after new figures from Edinburgh Airport revealed that it has seen the lowest number of passengers since 1995 in the last 12 months.
The current pandemic had a severe impact on the industry and its employees, and the Scottish Government has not yet given a clear roadmap for the sector’s recovery.
In 2019, almost 15 million people used the airport, but this has fallen to just 3.5 million in 2020 – a 76% reduction on the previous year. The drop in passenger numbers is estimated to have cost the Scottish economy around £1 billion, as well as 21,000 jobs.
This morning Dave Provan of the AGS Airports group told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland that the on plans for the introduction of managed quarantine, "There is no engagement with the Scottish government. We are finding out the next restrictions as the first minister makes those announcements."
Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
As the representative of what would normally be Scotland’s busiest airport, I know the huge toll that the virus has taken on the sector. Edinburgh Airport is the gateway for millions visiting every corner of our country but it's been a shadow of its normal self for months.
“It provides thousands of jobs within my constituency and beyond. The drastic change in traffic has led to a severe cut of employment by aviation firms and shops within the airport, that could take years for the situation to go back to pre-pandemic numbers.
“From the refusal to implement airport testing to implementing new border quarantine measures without picking up the phone to the aviation sector, the Scottish Government have consistently undermined the work of what is a key partner in keeping our country safe and the virus under control.
“For the sake of my constituents in Edinburgh Western and the wider aviation sector I am urging the Scottish Government to pick up the phone and talk to the aviation sector and put in place a proper support package. Edinburgh Airport has a major role to play in the recovery from the pandemic but this will cannot happen if jobs and expertise are lost.”
“Edinburgh airport handles over 14 million passengers per year, making it the busiest airport in Scotland and the sixth busiest in the UK. It provides hundreds of jobs within my constituency and beyond. By not giving the appropriate time and clear directions to the aviation industry, the Scottish Government puts in jeopardy the jobs of countless people, and of course the safety of our travellers.It is essential to keep everyone safe and try to block a further spread of the virus.”