Flights between Aberdeen and Manchester have been reinstated – just days after being pulled due to an emergency travel ban between the two cities.
Just a week after easyJet introduced the flights, airline bosses pulled them due to a travel ban imposed by the Scottish Government between Scotland and Manchester.
Put in place with the hopes of cracking down on spread of rising Covid cases in the Greater Manchester area, the decision sparked a heated debate between the First Minister and Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.
However, with travel once again permitted, the airline has announced flights will resume next month.
An airport spokesman welcomed the news and warned against a “stop-start approach” to protect jobs in the travel industry.
He said: “It is welcome news that easyJet will grow its domestic offering at Aberdeen International Airport by reinstating the Manchester route on August 6.
“This service was due to take off on July 9 but was withdrawn from sale following the announcement of the non-essential travel ban between Scotland and Manchester.
“Rebuilding our connectivity will play a vital role in supporting the economic recovery of the north-east, however, we can’t afford a stop-start approach as we’ve seen with this particular route. Tens of thousands of jobs have been lost across the travel and tourism sectors and it’s important government works with us to provide a clear, safe and long term recovery plan.”
An easyjet spokeswoman added: “Given the removal of some travel restrictions between Manchester and Scotland, we have now been able to resume our new route between Manchester and Aberdeen starting from 6 August.
“We are pleased to be able to provide more convenient direct domestic flights as planned, to connect families and businesses across the UK and offer more opportunity to explore the UK this summer.”
Tourism can’t be turned off and on
North East MSP Liam Kerr, who wrote to easyJet urged the to reconsider cancelling the flight roll-out last week, said it was a “positive step back to normality”.
However, he echoed the airport’s warning about the impact the last-minute changes will have had on the industry.
“I’m relieved EasyJet has shown faith in the north-east by reinstating its Manchester service when it could have easily pulled the plug after the chaos caused by the travel ban,” he said.
“This is a positive step to normality for both Aberdeen Airport and its passengers who will now be able to enjoy the route from next month.
“But this is a reminder that the aviation and tourism industry can’t be turned off and on at the whim of a Central Belt-focused SNP government.
“Both easyJet and Aberdeen Airport have been left counting the cost which has resulted in a service launching a month behind schedule.
“I hope the confidence shown towards Aberdeen can now be mirrored among operators internationally so we can get the airport flying high again.”