Covid: Scotland 'massively behind' on vaccine passports, says Edinburgh Airport boss

Scotland must “get back in step” with the rest of Europe and other UK nations on vaccine passports and travel restrictions, Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar has said.

Sunday, 15th August 2021, 12:38 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th August 2021, 12:38 pm

Travellers in Scotland are currently only able to get a paper copy of a vaccine certificate, while those in the rest of the UK and many countries in Europe are able to access a digital version.

This has left Scotland “behind” other nations, said Mr Dewar, with Scots now unable to access some services in European countries.

“We’re now massively behind everyone in Europe, including of course our nearest neighbours in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where everyone else has got a digital version of that,” Mr Dewar told BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show.

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Passenger numbers are still below pre-pandemic levels, Mr Dewar said.

“We don't and we're still waiting for the dates for when we might have one.

“What that means is not only is it more hassle in the sense you have a bit of paper, but quite a lot of people are now saying that's not acceptable, they’re concerned about the ability to forge that.”

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Scotland has been “more cautious” than elsewhere in Europe on travel restrictions generally, Mr Dewar said, with rules still putting potential travellers off.

"If you go to France and are told you can’t come to a restaurant because you’re Scottish and you’ve got a bit of paper rather than have something on your phone, I think that’s a bit ridiculous, it’s embarrassing,” he said.

"We are being more cautious than anyone else in Europe. We are making it harder and more expensive to travel, and there's no logical reason why that's the case.”

Mr Dewar added: “Why are we being more cautious about people coming to Scotland, or to the rest of the UK, when people aren’t worried about people coming from France to Germany?

"I don't understand it … we're doing ourselves enormous economic damage and I can't see the point of it in terms of health concerns. We've just got to get back in step with the rest of Europe”.

The Scottish Government has awarded a £600,000 contract to Danish IT firm Netcompany for a digital vaccine certification scheme, but a launch date has not yet been set.

Nicola Sturgeon told Holyrood last month that it could be autumn before this is available to Scottish travellers.

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