Highlands & Islands

Coronavirus: Airports welcome 'signs of recovery in aviation'

Inverness Airport Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Inverness Airport has only been available for essential flights since the end of March

Scottish airports have described EasyJet's plans to restart some scheduled flights next month as "welcome news".

The airline has announced its intention to resume some UK and a small number of international routes from 15 June.

The move would see scheduled flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness airports.

Edinburgh Airport said it was "encouraging to see some signs of recovery in the aviation industry".

Flights have been restricted since the end of March due to lockdown measures.

Inverness, which is operated by Scottish government-owned Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (Hial), has only been open to essential flights, such as NHS passenger transfers and emergencies.

EasyJet said it would initially start flights on domestic routes and a "minimal number" of international routes.

It said it expects to increase flying as customer demand continued to build and restrictions were relaxed.

EasyJet said there would be "enhanced aircraft disinfection" and customers, cabin and ground crew will be required to wear masks.

There will also initially be no food service onboard flights.

'Stand ready'

Edinburgh Airport said the aviation industry played an important economic role.

A spokesman said: "It's important that this fragile growth is supported by government being as clear as possible, as quickly as possible on potential quarantine, exemptions and 'air bridges.'

"We stand ready to facilitate travel when required and are regularly speaking with our airlines partners about their plans, and anyone who is travelling must ensure they are following travel guidance."

A Glasgow Airport spokesman said: "Today's announcement from EasyJet to recommence flight operations next month and introduce enhanced measures to safeguard passenger and crew wellbeing is welcome news.

"We are continuing to work closely with all of airline partners on their plans to restart flight operations."

Hial said it had introduced new processes, including cleaning regimes and social distancing procedures, to help limit the spread of infection and protect the health and wellbeing of staff and passengers.

A spokesman said: "We are confident the appropriate and necessary measures are in place at Hial airports to enable a gradual resumption of some scheduled flights."