The Scottish aviation sector is under threat due to its government’s delay in adopting an “air corridors” policy.
That was the message of Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) president Joanne Dooey.
The association said Scots are likely to cross the border to fly out from Newcastle and Manchester on holiday this summer, detracting from Scotland’s own aviation sector.
The SPAA, which represents Scotland’s travel agents and a wide range of associate members including travel companies, foreign tourist boards and airlines is calling for urgent decisions from the Scottish government about how Scots can travel this summer.
Dooey said: “Scotland’s aviation sector is at serious risk.
“Scotland needs its aviation sector and the Scottish government needs to act decisively to prevent irreversible long-term damage to the Scottish economy.
“Our aviation sector plays a critical role in connecting Scottish business to the world. This is not just about family holidays to Torremolinos being under threat – it’s about a whole sector of the Scottish economy being in immediate jeopardy.
“In no way do we want to jeopardise anyone’s health, but the current situation means that Scots flying out of Scottish airports are obliged to self-isolate on their return, but Scots could cross the border to fly from an English airport and on their return potential drive back across the border with questionable quarantine requirements.”
The announcement by the Scottish government that Scotland will not join the UK’s list of “safe” countries at the moment comes at a time when many Scottish travel agents are set to reopen their doors on Monday 6 July (today).
“We had hoped for clarity and the ability to be selling holidays to Scots and business travel to recommence and to show that Scotland is open for business,” said Dooey.
“It’s hard to understand why the scientific advice is robust enough for the English traveller to be permitted to travel but not for the Scots traveller.
“It appears that a core list of safe destinations has remained consistent, so it’s hard to understand why these core destination have not been given the go-ahead on Friday with additional destinations added as future decisions are made.
“This is not simply an issue of Scots who are missing having a summer holiday. People do not travel simply for the purpose of a holiday. They travel to see friends, to attend family celebrations and for business. Can you imagine wishing to travel to a family funeral and finding that you can no longer fly from a Scottish airport to your destination?
“The value of outbound travel to the Scotland is significant – and the governments should consider that, without outbound tourism there is no inbound tourism. If we lose airlines and air routes in Scotland it means that visitors from these countries can’t come to Scotland in the same measure as we will be unable to travel to theirs.
“The numbers of jobs at risk are considerable, and we’re worried that Scotland may bear a proportionally higher brunt of job losses.
“When you consider that Edinburgh airport alone employs more than 7,000 people, you can see the impact that any staff reductions will have on the Scottish economy.”