Scotland business

Coronavirus: Airports quiet for 'holiday season'

Empty terminal building at Glasgow Airport Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The government is warning against all but essential air travel

On what is traditionally one of the busiest weekends of the year, Scotland's airports say they expect only a trickle of passengers.

Glasgow can expect to handle 130,000 passengers over a few days in a normal year.

This year, it is likely to be just 2,000.

Edinburgh and Aberdeen are also handling far fewer passengers as the government discourages non-essential travel.

The Foreign Office is currently advising people in the UK against all be essential international travel.

And most travellers who fly into the UK should self-isolate for 14 days.

New recommendations that all luggage should be checked in, passengers should wear face coverings in the airport, and that face-to-face contact with staff should be minimised have also been issued.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption UK airports are subject to coronavirus restrictions

The guidance was criticised by many in the airline industry.

Airline Ryanair said the hand luggage advice was "nonsensical", noting that checked-in bags are handled by multiple people, whereas hand luggage is only touched by the passenger.

Scottish airports said most holiday travellers had decided not to fly.

Edinburgh Airport normally expects to record its busiest week in July but reports passengers are well down on normal so far.

A typical summer day of flying would see it handle about 45,000 passengers. This year it has typically been about 600.

Aberdeen has retained a slightly higher proportion of its business during lockdown - because of its role in serving the North Sea energy sector.

But its passenger numbers are still down by about 85%.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption In normal times, airports would be extremely busy

Glasgow Airport said traffic is about 98% down on last year, but said more routes were likely to re-start.

Destinations likely to see flights from next month include Ibiza, Zante and Toronto.

There are also likely to be domestic flights resuming to Bristol, Luton and Stansted.

A spokesman for Glasgow said: "With lockdown beginning to ease, we are continuing to work with many of our airlines partners to support their restart plans and have introduced a series of enhanced measures to keep our terminal clean and safe for staff and passengers as we welcome them back to the airport.

"While this continues to be an extremely challenging time for the aviation industry as a whole, it is encouraging to see the resumption of key domestic services and a small number of international routes that play an important part in getting the country and our economy moving again.

"The introduction of international corridors and an end to the blanket quarantine measures currently in place in the UK will provide airlines with the confidence to restart more international routes."