Scottish airports left 'bemused' by lack of detail in new hotel quarantine plans

Plans to introduce new mandatory managed quarantine for incoming travellers into Scotland from Monday have been criticised by “bemused” Scottish airports for a lack of detail.

It is understood that airports were being briefed on the details of transport secretary Michael Matheson’s announcement to Holyrood during his statement, with the government forced to apologise for a lack of prior engagement or consultation on the plans.

The transport secretary announced the plans for the managed quarantine would come into force on Monday, but airports were told little in the way of additional detail on the exact workings of the plans, it is understood.

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One concern is how the process will work when passengers arrive into Scottish airports, with the standard time to wait for an airside security pass around six weeks.

The Scottish Government has been criticised for its introduction of hotel quarantine.

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Incoming travellers to Scotland will face quarantine hotels from Monday

Mr Matheson told Holyrood passengers would be met “at the point of arrival” and escorted to hotels, but could not provide any detail on who would be expected to undertake the work.

One airport source said the lack of engagement meant the aviation industry was “bemused” by the plans and questioned whether it could be up and running within a week.

The announcement has also led to criticism from Edinburgh Airport, predominantly on the short time period between the announcement and its introduction and the lack of detail.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “The statement and ministerial call was our first official engagement on this issue and we were formally advised of the Scottish Government’s intention to introduce this very severe measure.

"We await to hear how they intend to implement this, how it will be enforced, who will enforce it and what we are being asked to contribute.

“The requirement for restrictions is understood, but we also need to know when we and many other business impacted by this decision can expect support to allow us to plan for some sort of recovery.”

Glasgow and Aberdeen Airports’ owners, AGS Airports, also criticised the decision, stating the measures would have “no impact” on the sector as the “damage had already been done”.

A spokesperson said: “Bar two oil and gas-related flights at Aberdeen, there are no other international flights at our airports, so these latest measures will have no impact as the damage had already been done.

"We’ve stated previously that we understand the need for emergency measures. However, we urgently need to work with government on developing a recovery plan for our sector, which has been at a standstill for almost one year.”

The lack of engagement was also brought up by MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton, whose constituency includes Edinburgh Airport.

He said: “Mr Matheson claimed there will be meetings soon, but failed to define his meaning of ‘soon’.

"The Scottish Government must act fast and provide a clear and concise time map to protect the livelihoods of aviation industry employees and the safety of those arriving or returning to Scotland.”

Similar measures to those in Scotland were announced by the UK Government earlier on Tuesday. However, managed quarantine requirements will only apply to those from a ‘red list’ of countries with known variants.

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