Easyjet and Ryanair to ground most Scottish flights

Scotland’s two biggest airlines are to halt most of their flights following the travel ban under the country’s latest lockdown.

Ryanair said it would operate few flights from the UK from January 21. Picture: Neil Hanna
Ryanair said it would operate few flights from the UK from January 21. Picture: Neil Hanna

Easyjet said it would operate only a “small number” of international routes while reducing UK routes from Scotland to just seven from Sunday.

These will be between Edinburgh and Gatwick, Bristol and Belfast, and Glasgow and Gatwick and Belfast.

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Ryanair said “few, if any” flights would continue to and from the UK from Thursday, January 21.

Edinburgh Airport, which is normally Scotland’s busiest, said airlines had “no option” but cut schedules because only essential travel was permitted.

The airport had fewer than 20 arrivals and departures from mid-morning today, with the sole scheduled international departures to Amsterdam and Riga.

Glasgow Airport had fewer than 30 flights, with international services only to Dubai, Amsterdam and Alesund in Norway.

The Scottish Government has said “travel to or from Scotland without a reasonable excuse is not permitted”.

Ryanair said it expected the latest Covid-19 restrictions to reduce demand for the next three months and it would “significantly cut its flight schedules”.

It said that would result in “few, if any, flights being operated to/from Ireland or the UK from the end of January until such time as these draconian travel restrictions are removed.”

The airline said passengers would be emailed about their entitlement to free moves and/or refunds today.

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An Easyjet spokesperson said: “We will be reviewing our flying programme with the view to maintaining essential connectivity between key cities in the UK alongside a small number of international routes.

“We are operating flights focused on enabling customers to return home until Sunday, January 10 and following this the schedule will be further reduced.

"We’ll continue to maintain flying from Edinburgh to Gatwick, Bristol and Belfast, and from Glasgow to Gatwick and Belfast.

“We continue to review our schedule with the view to align the flying programme with travel restrictions and demand.

“We are contacting customers whose flights are cancelled with their options and all customers unable to travel as a result of the lockdown restrictions, whether their flights are cancelled or scheduled to operate, can transfer their flights to a later date for free, receive a voucher or a refund."

A spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport said: "Airlines have no option but to reduce schedules given the current rules allowing essential travel only, and people should read and follow the guidance provided by the Scottish Government.

"We have continually pressed for a robust testing regime to be introduced and we do welcome the apparent change in approach from the UK and Scottish Governments, even though the situation should have been rectified long before now.”

A spokesman for AGS Airports, which owns Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, said: “The continued reduction of airline schedules is indicative of the travel restrictions currently in place.

"As was the case during the first lockdown in 2020, our airports will remain open and operational to support reduced schedules that consist of lifeline routes to the Highland and Islands, air ambulance flights and vital hub connectivity for key workers, the repatriation of passengers and those employed in the oil and gas industry.”

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