SCOTLAND’S biggest travel weekend of the year got under way yesterday with hundreds of thousands of people on the move at the start of the school holidays in parts of the country.
However, many west coast ferry passengers were going nowhere as the first strike at CalMac for 20 years halted sailings on two-thirds of routes.
More than 300,000 passengers will pass through Edinburgh and Glasgow airports this weekend, including holidaying Scots and incoming tourists.
Both airports reported operations had gone smoothly, with Edinburgh saying it had suffered no repeat of security-queue delays caused by a technical fault earlier in the week.
Edinburgh will operate dedicated lanes for families in an effort to minimise congestion. However, it warned: “Following recent incidents where passengers have had to queue for security, the airport is calling on those travelling to allow extra time to get through.”
The airport also renewed its reminder to passengers that liquids carried in hand luggage are restricted to 100ml containers.
This year it is going to be busier than everFrançois Bourienne
Dozens of bins full of oversize containers are still being confiscated at the airport daily – nine years after the restriction was introduced.
The most popular destinations for Edinburgh’s 92,000 passengers are Amsterdam, including for KLM passengers taking connecting flights, Dublin and Palma Mallorca.
Madrid, Copenhagen, New York, Alicante, Frankfurt and Geneva were next on the list.
Chief operating officer David Wilson said: “Summer is always our busiest time of the year and we anticipate our numbers will only continue to grow. Between Friday and Monday we’ll see over 160,000 passengers arrive and depart the terminal.
“We’ll be pulling out all the stops to ensure the airport operates as well as possible.”
The school term ended in areas such as Glasgow on Wednesday, and in Edinburgh yesterday, but pupils in other parts of the country, including the Highlands, Aberdeen, Dumfries and the Borders, do not start their holidays until next week.
Glasgow Airport will handle 163,000 passengers this weekend. The top destinations from the airport are Dubai – the world’s biggest hub for connecting flights – Florida, the Canary Islands, Portugal and Turkey.
Commercial director François Bourienne said: “This year it is going to be busier than ever as our passengers take advantage of the wide variety of new routes on offer.”
The Met Office forecast temperatures only reaching the low to mid-20s in Scotland by next week, while London is expected to hit 31C by Wednesday.
A southern European heatwave could see temperatures topping 40C in parts of Spain tomorrow.
A one-day strike by the Rail, Maritime and Transport union halted CalMac ferries on 18 of its 27 routes, including to the Western Isles, Mull, Coll, Tiree, Colonsay and Islay.
The walkout was over fears for jobs, conditions and pensions if private-sector bidder Serco wins an eight-year contract from 2016 from the state-owned operator.
Talks have been arranged between union leaders and infrastructure secretary Keith Brown next week. On the roads, the A82 – the main north-south route on the west coast – was blocked by a five-vehicle crash near Spean Bridge, north of Fort William.
Trains on the Edinburgh-Glasgow line via Bathgate were also disrupted after a grenade was found beside a gas tank near Airdrie.