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Airlines UK, the Airport Operators Association (AOA), AGS and Edinburgh airports have called on the Scottish Government to rectify a major discrepancy that means passengers returning to Scotland from abroad will have to pay more than twice as much for COVID tests than travellers returning to England.

On 11 May, the Scottish Government confirmed it would adopt a four nations approach to the removal of the travel ban which, on 17 May, was replaced by a traffic light system, with a red, amber and green list of countries mirroring what had previously been confirmed in England.

There is still a requirement for passengers returning from countries on the amber and green lists to take COVID tests. Whilst passengers returning to England are permitted to purchase tests from private suppliers, that approach has not been mirrored in Scotland with current regulations explicitly stating tests from private suppliers cannot be used.

A testing package for passengers arriving in Scotland from amber countries is £170 per person and £88pp for those arriving from green listed countries. Some private suppliers are offering testing options for as little as £20pp.

Tim Alderslade, chief executive of Airlines UK, Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, and Karen Dee, chief executive of the AOA, said: “On 11 May we were told the Scottish Government would adopt a four nations approach to the removal of the travel ban which had brought our industry to a standstill. Within a matter of days, it transpired Scottish passengers would be heavily penalised by having to pay twice as much for COVID tests than people in England.

“It is not fair that people in Scotland are being forced to bear such high costs when there are private suppliers offering the same tests that meet strict UK Government requirements for a fraction of the cost.

“This lack of parity with England will price many people out of travelling and will be a very real barrier to airports and airlines as we try to safely re-establish our connectivity. It will also push passengers to airports in England to avoid the cost of the Scottish Government’s testing package meaning they would not receive any form of data. We urgently need the Government to review its guidelines and introduce an equitable testing system that doesn’t penalise Scottish passengers. We have offered to work with the Government and its clinicians to help identify an affordable solution.”

Responding to the First Minister’s announcement on international travel restarting in Scotland from 17 May, Airlines UK, AGS Airports and Edinburgh Airport have issued the following statement:

“Whilst removing the travel ban is a step in the right direction it is very much a missed opportunity with so few countries making it onto the green list.

“We are again in the position of being a week away from a major change to operations and are waiting on details of how the Scottish Government wants this to work and how it will be managed. We need that detail as soon as possible to allow everyone to understand what is required.

“We appreciate there are many things to consider but we encourage the Scottish Government to work with us on making testing more affordable rather than it being a barrier for those who need and want to travel. We would also encourage government to take advantage of the vaccination rollout to open up many more green countries in the EU at the new review point in three weeks, as the EU themselves have proposed, and to work where possible as the four nations to ensure consistency and avoid confusion for operators and passengers.

“The Scottish Government must also be very clear about when and how we can encourage visitors from green list countries to try and save the thousands of jobs in Scotland that depend upon international travellers.”

– Airport’s World Duty Free store to also open this weekend – 

Several domestic routes at Glasgow Airport will restart or increase frequency following the easing of travel restrictions on Monday. 

easyJet plans to increase frequencies on several domestic routes which have been in operation and Scotland’s biggest airline will also restart several other UK services including:

 

  • Stansted route will increase to a daily operation from Saturday
  • Birmingham restarts Sunday with four flights per week then increases to six (no Saturday) from Mon 31 May
  • Birmingham restarts Sunday with four flights per week then increases to six (no Saturday) from Mon 31 May
  • Bristol route increases to six flights per week (excluding Saturdays) from Monday 
  • The same service will move to 10 flights per week from Friday 28 May – one daily flight which will double on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays
  • Luton route increases to five flights per week from Monday and will move to daily operations from Saturday 22 May
  • Belfast route increases to nine flights per week from Friday 7 May which includes double daily services on Fridays and Sundays
  • Jersey returns Thursday May 22 with two flights per week, increases to three from Tuesday 15 June and then six (excluding Wednesdays) from Friday 2 July

 

Scotland’s airline Loganair also plans to restart routes to both the Scottish Islands and England from Glasgow Airport, including:

 

  • Barra service is now up twice daily 
  • Southampton returns on Monday with three flights per week, which is set to increase further in June
  • Campbeltown, Islay, Stornoway and Tiree will increase to twice daily from Monday
  • Sumburgh in Shetland will return Monday 24 May with five flights per week via Kirkwall in Orkney and will go direct from Monday 14 June 
  • Kirkwall will return on Monday 24 May with five flights per week then moves to a daily service from Thursday 10 June
  • Exeter service is currently twice weekly and will move to daily from Friday 18 June

Glasgow Airport’s World Duty Free store will also open on Sunday for the first time in over five months. 

A series of enhanced measures designed to ensure passengers enjoy a safe and pleasant experience while passing through the terminal have been introduced. You can find out more by visiting our designated COVID-19 page. 

Ronald Leitch, Operations Director at Glasgow Airport, said: “With restrictions now beginning to ease we are working hard to support our airline partners’ plans to increase frequencies on existing routes and to resume a number of their domestic services. 

“The airport has remained open throughout the pandemic to ensure a number of lifeline services including flights from the Scottish Islands and vital hub connectivity used by key workers could continue, so we have been preparing in order to scale up operations when it was possible for some domestic services to restart. 

“We invested significantly in the early stages of the pandemic to introduce enhanced cleaning regimes and have put a number of protective measures in place to ensure our terminal continues be a safe environment for our passengers, many of whom we appreciate may well be travelling for the first time for over a year. Now that the safe return of domestic travel has resumed, we are looking forward to welcoming our valued customers back to Glasgow Airport once again.” 

Rapid COVID-19 testing facilities have also been introduced at Glasgow Airport in recent weeks. The terminal-based facilities offer both PCR and antigen testing for passengers and have been designed to support pre-booked appointments. Results for PCR testing are returned within 24 hours while antigen takes just 15 minutes. PCR testing can be done either via a park-and-test method in the airport car parks or a walk-up test within the terminal. Passengers are advised to make appointments for either testing method, should they be required, in advance and directly through Glasgow Airport’s website, which also include links to the latest Scottish Government travel advice.

Airport receives British Safety Council’s International Safety Award with a Distinction for second year in a row –

Glasgow Airport has scooped an International Safety Award for protecting its employees from the risk of injury and ill health at work.

The airport has won an International Safety Award with a Distinction from the British Safety Council in recognition of its commitment to keeping its workers and workplaces healthy and safe during the 2020 calendar year.

The airport, owned by AGS Airports Ltd along with Aberdeen and Southampton airports, is one of only 85 organisations worldwide to win a Distinction in the International Safety Awards 2021. The awards also recognise organisations that have shown commitment to wellbeing and mental health.

Graeme Robertson, health and safety manager at Glasgow Airport, said: “The health and safety of our staff continues to be an overarching priority for everyone who works at Glasgow Airport, so we are tremendously proud to have received this award with distinction from the British Safety Council for the second year running.

“It is especially significant to be recognised for our efforts in the year we experienced the onset of COVID-19 – one of the greatest health challenges of our time. Out-with ensuring the safety of our core operational staff who continued to keep the airport open to support vital lifeline services during this pandemic, the greater challenge came from supporting our wider workforce.

“The majority of our people in Glasgow – and across the wider group – have either worked from home due to COVID-19 restrictions or were on furlough for a period of time, so supporting their mental health and well-being while making sure they felt connected with their colleagues during lockdown was absolutely critical last year and this work continues to this day.”

 

The airport also received the NHS Health Working Lives Gold award in 2020 for ensuring a healthy workplace. Staff at the airport and wider group benefit from an extensive occupational health service from trained advisors or physicians including physiotherapy, podiatry and access to mental-health support with each delivered in keeping with all COVID-19 guidance.

During the pandemic staff have also gained access to an employee assistance programme, online training resources to keep their competency skills up to date and a confidential telephone support service for emotional and practical problems, medical and legal information and immediate crisis intervention. Live broadcast mental health fitness and well-being sessions were also available to staff across the AGS Airports Ltd group.

Mike Robinson, chief executive of the British Safety Council, congratulated Glasgow Airport on their success in winning an International Safety Award 2021 with a Distinction: “The British Safety Council applauds Glasgow Airport and it’s AGS Group-wide Assurance Team on their achievement. The award is in recognition of their commitment and hard work to keep their employees and workplaces free of injury and ill health.

“The vision of the British Safety Council is that no-one should be injured or made ill through their work – anywhere in the world. Achieving this requires more than complying with legislation; it means people committed not only to health and safety but also more and more to workplace wellbeing and impelling others to follow suit.”

“Our heartfelt congratulations to Glasgow Airport. All of those working at the airport should be enormously proud of their achievement.”

Now in their 63rd year, the International Safety Awards recognise and celebrate organisations from around the world which have demonstrated to the satisfaction of the scheme’s independent judges their commitment to preventing workplace injuries and work-related ill-healthduring the previous calendar year.

 

The awards also recognise organisations that have shown commitment to wellbeing and mental health at work. To find out more about the British Safety Council here.

Glasgow Airport was today (Wednesday 28 October) named Airport of the Year at the
Scottish Transport Awards for the second year in a row.

The airport was shortlisted for the award alongside Aberdeen International, also part of AGS
Airports Ltd group, and Inverness.
The Scottish Transport Awards looked a little different in 2020. Instead of being announced
in the company of 450+ industry professionals to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow in
June, as originally planned, the award winners were announced in a video that was played
during the virtual Scottish Transport Awards Summit.
Mark Johnston, chief operating officer of AGS Airports Ltd, which owns Aberdeen, Glasgow
and Southampton Airports, said: “We are extremely proud to win this award and thrilled to do
so for the second year in a row. It couldn’t come at a better time given the challenges
Glasgow Airport and the wider industry is currently facing.
“Thousands of people from dozens of companies work hard each day across our campus to
ensure Glasgow Airport continues to deliver its unique brand of customer service for our
passengers.
“Like the rest of the country, we’re operating in very difficult circumstances, however, I’m
immensely proud of the fact we’ve remained open and operational throughout this pandemic
to continue to deliver vital air services for our customers. Being named Scottish Airport of the
Year is a welcome boost.”
The Scottish Transport Awards looked a little different in 2020. Instead of being announced
in the company of 450+ industry professionals to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow in
June, as originally planned, the award winners were announced in a video that was played
during the virtual Scottish Transport Awards Summit.
The Scottish Transport Awards Summit took place on today as an all-day virtual conference
with over 200 delegates registered.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, gave the
keynote speech and said: “It was a pleasure to deliver the keynote address at this year's rather
unique Scottish Transport Awards Summit.

“Given the challenges 2020 has brought it was very important to recognise the incredible efforts
and achievements of the transport sector. The leadership and dedication shown in responding to
the Covid-19 pandemic – keeping our key workers and the nation moving safely, is undoubtedly
worthy of thanks and appreciation.
“Regardless of whether you won an award or not, you have all been successful and I am grateful
to all of our unsung heroes for keeping Scotland moving safely during these challenging times.”