Scottish airport boss hits out at government stating new Covid testing regime has taken 'much longer than expected'
Leader says industry has been calling for an effective testing regime ‘for months’ as it is the only way to protect the country from high risk arrivals.
Responding to the announcement that all international arrivals will need to present a negative coronavirus test for entry into the UK, Derek Provan, the chief executive of AGS Airports, which owns Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, said: “We have been calling for the introduction of an effective testing regime for months as it is the only way to safely re-establish connectivity whilst protecting the public from high risk arrivals.
"Whilst it is encouraging that the government has now decided to put such a scheme in place, it has taken much longer than expected.
"Our industry has been devastated by the pandemic and has effectively been shut down for close to a year.
"If we’re to be in any position to support our country’s and the economy’s recovery from this crisis, it’s vital government provides much needed sector specific support.”
The Scottish Government announced that all passengers travelling to Scotland from abroad must have proof of a negative test taken a maximum of 72 hours before travel.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson, said: “The requirement for pre-departure testing will add to our suite of public health measures as we seek to help drive down transmission of the virus to safeguard health, protect the NHS and save lives."
The Scottish Passenger Agents' Association (SPAA) has welcomed the announcement but believes it is only the first step in “stimulating travel”.
President of the SPAA Joanne Dooey, said: "Our members have been lobbying for a robust, effective testing regime and this will undoubtedly be an excellent first step towards this and will hopefully help to prevent the transmission of any new variants of the virus within the UK.
"However, this new test requirement does not remove the mandatory 10-day self-isolation period for all international travellers arriving here from countries without a travel corridor.
"Importantly, over and above this short-term measure, the travel industry needs a comprehensive, internationally-agreed, strategic plan for how we can return to travelling both in the period before the vaccination programme is complete and in the period beyond this.