THE announcement all international passengers will soon have to test negative for Covid-19 before travelling to the UK has been welcomed by the chief executive of Aberdeen Airport.
People arriving by plane, train or boat, including UK nationals, will have to take a test up to 72 hours before leaving the country they are in.
Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, which owns Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, said: “We have been calling for the introduction of an effective testing regime for months as it is the only way to safely re-establish connectivity whilst protecting the public from high risk arrivals.
“Whilst it is encouraging government has now decided to put such a scheme in place, it has taken much longer than expected.
“Our industry has been devastated by this pandemic and has effectively been shut down for close to one year. If we are to be in any position to support our country’s and the economy’s recovery from the crisis, it’s vital government provides much needed sector specific support.”
Even with a negative test, arrivals from countries not on the travel corridor list must still quarantine.
Joanne Dooey, president of the Scottish Passengers Agents’ Association said: “Our members have been lobbying for a robust, effective testing regime and this will undoubtedly be an excellent first step towards this and will hopefully help to prevent the transmission of any new variants of the virus within the UK.
“However, this new test requirement does not remove the mandatory 10-day self-isolation period for all international travellers arriving here from countries without a travel corridor.
“What world travel needs is agreed international standards and protocols. There needs to be a list of internationally acceptable tests which can be adopted in UK as well .
“This new requirement is due to be brought in next week, but at the moment there’s no indication from the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps of which tests are valid and acceptable.
“Importantly, over and above this short-term measure, the travel industry needs a comprehensive, internationally-agreed, strategic plan for how we can return to travelling both in the period before the vaccination programme is complete and in the period beyond this.
“We need to see a blueprint for how we return to travelling for business and leisure reasons because currently the sector has been devastated and is in need of significant support. The Scottish economy needs its travel industry in order to drive economic recovery.”