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Aberdeen International Airport boss calls on Nicola Sturgeon to back air bridges to European destinations

AGS airports chief executive Derek Provan.
AGS airports chief executive Derek Provan.

The boss of Aberdeen International Airport has called on the Scottish Government to back plans for air bridges between the UK and European destinations.

Ahead of discussions with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS airports, said the current Covid-19 quarantine policy was “hugely damaging” to the economy.

Last week Boris Johnson announced his plans for air bridges – or air corridors – whereby holiday makers could fly to certain European countries without having to quarantine for 14 days when they come back.

Ms Sturgeon has yet to decide whether the proposals should be supported north of the border.

Unlike the blanket quarantine policy that has been hugely damaging to our aviation, tourism and hospitality industries, air bridges will allow travel between low-risk countries and protect the public from high-risk arrivals.”

Derek Provan of Aberdeen International Airport

Mr Provan, who is in charge of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, said: “It’s vital we adopt a targeted, common sense approach to the safe re-establishment of our air connectivity.

“The introduction of air bridges will allow us to strike the important balance of protecting public health while getting the country and our economy moving again.

“Unlike the blanket quarantine policy that has been hugely damaging to our aviation, tourism and hospitality industries, air bridges will allow travel between low-risk countries and protect the public from high-risk arrivals.”

The control tower at Aberdeen International Airport.

This week Ms Sturgeon complained the proposal had been announced without consultation with the Scottish Government.

At her daily coronavirus briefing, she revealed she was about to discuss the issue with Mr Provan and various other members of the aviation industry.

She said the Scottish Government’s position was still being looked at.

“We were provided with some data that underpinned the UK Government’s decision making. We are considering that and will make an announcement on our position on that in due course – hopefully reasonably soon,” Ms Sturgeon said.

Ms Sturgeon added that she was not going to announce the decision before she had made it.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

She said she had a “duty” to take into account the economic impact of her decision but to balance that with the effect it would have on health.

“These things ultimately feel as if they are in conflict but ultimately they are not. They are two sides of the same coin. I would expect those in the aviation sector to argue for as much freedom in air travel as possible and I would expect those in the health side of things to argue for as much caution about these things as possible,” Ms Sturgeon said.

“The job of government is to take all of these things into account and come to the right, balanced decision for the good of the country and that is what we will do.”

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