No surge in Scots’ green-list holiday bookings due to plummeting travel confidence

No surge in holiday bookings to new green travel list destinations is expected from Scotland because of low passenger confidence, airports and travel, agents have said.

Sunday, 27th June 2021, 4:45 pm

Scots will be allowed to fly to Malta, Madeira and the Balearic islands from Wednesday without the need to quarantine on their return, the Scottish Government announced last Thursday.

However, with school holidays in parts of Scotland already underway before the decision, many families will have booked breaks within the UK instead.

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Edinburgh Airport is still only handling 10 per cent of its normal passenger numbers. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Travel industry officials said others would be wary about booking foreign trips after Portugal was moved to the amber (quarantine at home) category at a few days’ notice just weeks after being added to the green list.

One said: “What happened with Portugal hugely dented what little confidence people had, after they saw the mad rush of holidaymakers trying to get home to avoid having to self isolate on their return.

"We are not going to see a surge in travel.

"It’s too late for that.”

This weekend is normally the busiest of the year for Scottish airports, with families flying abroad at the start of the school holidays.

However, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports said passenger numbers remained at just 10 per cent of normal levels.

Edinburgh said more people travelled from the airport to Malaga this time last year than those heading to all its current destinations combined.

The Scottish Passenger Agents Association, which represents travel agents, said there had been an increase in holiday bookings, but not a surge.

Its spokesperson said: “It’s too little, too late.

"People are lacking the confidence to book.”

Green list flights from Edinburgh include Ryanair to Palma (Mallorca) and Ibiza currently, plus Malta from July 17.

Jet2 will fly to Ibiza from Thursday, Palma and Menorca from Friday and Funchal (Madeira) from July 5.

British Airways, Easyjet and Tui will also fly to Palma.

At Glasgow, Jet2 will fly to Palma, Ibiza, Menorca, Malta and Madeira, along with Tui to Palma, Ibiza and Menorca.

Tui will fly from Aberdeen to Palma.

There was better news for Edinburgh from Atlantic Airways, which said it had taken thousands of bookings for its flights to the Faroes, which resume twice a week from Thursday.

AGS Airports, which owns Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, said: "We have repeatedly highlighted that aviation is not an industry that can just be simply switched on or off at short notice, so there will likely be no swell in travel from Scottish airports.

“Passenger confidence is at an all-time low and our airline partners are understandably finding it impossible to operate schedules given the unpredictability of the current situation.

“This weekend should be the start of the peak summer holiday season and we’d normally welcome thousands of people each day through our doors and the terminals would be buzzing with excitement.

"Instead our airports are virtually empty for the second summer in a row.

A spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “Any extension of the green list is welcome, however small, but we also have to be realistic – this is not yet the meaningful restart the aviation industry needs to be able to recover from the pandemic.

"Even with this small extension, Scotland still has prohibitively high testing costs and the Scottish Government does not to appear to be listening.”

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