Labour has called for a recovery plan for the aviation industry, as Sir Keir Starmer visited Edinburgh Airport.
He met with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and the airport’s chief executive Gordon Dewar as he travelled to Scotland on Friday.
Mr Dewar said the Scottish Government had failed to provide any plan for how international travel could resume when conditions allow.
It comes as Labour pledges to create 170,000 jobs through a variety of schemes as part of its election promises.
Sir Keir said airport executives had stressed the need for a plan on how air travel could resume, while aviation would be crucial to the economic recovery.
The Labour leader told the PA news agency: “What they are most concerned about is that there needs to be a plan for the future, the uncertainty is having a huge effect on the airport, on those employed at the airport and everybody associated with it.
“So there needs to be a plan for the recovery. That’s why here in Scotland the central focus has to be on the recovery and that’s why Scottish Labour are today launching this 170,000 jobs package for the future.”
Mr Sarwar called for the aviation sector to have a transitional support fund as travel returned to pre-Covid levels, limiting the unemployment resulting from low passenger numbers.
He said: “It’s going to take time to get us back to even pre-Covid levels, never mind going beyond those levels, and that’s why we need to have support for businesses across the country, that includes support for the aviation industry.
“So we can have people coming to Scotland, enjoying Scotland, spending money in Scotland and doing trade in Scotland if we are going to come through this as a stronger and fairer nation.”
Mr Dewar said the mood at his airport was currently “downbeat”.
He said: “It’s a very, very quiet place to be, it’s a very uncertain future in front of us at the moment.
“We’re just hoping we can get engagement with government to start talking about how we’re going to trade our way out of this in the future.
“But unfortunately at the moment that doesn’t seem to be happening.”
Mr Dewar said the UK Government was introducing a traffic light system to allow international travel to start again, but there was no equivalent plan for Scotland.
He continued: “We’re going to be falling behind. Government not only doesn’t have a plan, they refuse to talk about a plan.
“So it’s really worrying about how we’re meant to explain to airlines, to passengers, to everyone that relies on aviation in Scotland what to expect in the coming future.”
Mr Dewar said he was not currently asking for financial support from government, but was seeking clarity on when and how trading could resume.
He added: “The UK currently has started to open up – Scotland hasn’t.
“There is no plan whatsoever of any description or any timing for international travel.
“We’re being told we are the price of the recovery.
“I just think that’s utterly unacceptable and I don’t see how any government can know it’s making good decisions if they haven’t done the work to know what a good decision looks like.”