Edinburgh airport facing ‘tough choices’ over Covid fallout

Edinburgh airport faces “tough choices” over staffing with an admission that it will not break even until 2021.

The airport has previously confirmed the loss of almost a third of its workforce due to the continued impact of Covid-19 and current quarantine restrictions.

Talks continue with the Scottish government on the prospect of a “robust” testing regime and the possibility of a pilot scheme to evaluate risk mitigation and protection of public health.

The Scottish capital’s aviation gateway suffered a 91% fall in summer passenger numbers due to the impact of the pandemic.

Just 785,000 people passed through the airport between April and September, down from 8.4 million in the same period last year and down on initial 2020 estimates of 8.8 million made at the end of last year.

The ever-changing situation and near constant changes to quarantine exemptions means forecasting for 2021 is “almost impossible”. 

A statement said: “The numbers demonstrate the stark situation the aviation industry is in, the huge challenge it faces to recover and the importance of finding solutions to aid the airport’s recovery.”

Chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “It’s been an incredibly difficult time for all of us and the scale of the recovery challenge that faces us is now really hitting home.

“These figures highlight the huge impact Covid-19 has had and continues to have, something that is being felt across the travel and tourism industries and the economy as a whole.

“Scotland’s recovery will be protracted and tough, and the aviation industry will face similar challenges to ensure it can reconnect the country to the world. There are still many unknowns which make that difficult to chart.”

He added: “We have spent years building growth in our passengers, routes and infrastructure, so to see all of that fall back is a concerning position for us to be in. Losing valued friends and colleagues has been difficult for us and we still face an uncertain future as we continue to grapple with this awful virus.

“Our own recovery will be difficult – we do not expect to break even until 2021 and we face tough choices to ensure we protect as many jobs as we can, and that will always be our main focus.

“Our business plans have been in a constant state of flux due to circumstances worsening, the introduction of and constant changes to quarantine, and of course all of this feeds into passenger confidence.

“We need to see a robust testing regime which will protect public health, provide reassurance and see travel and tourism begin to rebuild.”

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