Airport Executive – ‘The Government is Overseeing the Demise of the Aviation Industry’

THE Chief executive of AGS Airports has accused government ministers of “overseeing the demise of UK aviation.”

Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports runs Southampton, Aberdeen and Glasgow airports which are suffering a massive loss of revenue due to the UK’s quarantine laws. He said: “That’s surely not an accolade any government would like to have.”

Bosses of Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow Airport said “leadership” was needed on the testing issue and warned of a huge number of jobs at stake. The Department for Transport replied to the accusations by saying it had given huge support to the aviation sector.

One of the tests claims to provide the results in as little as 30 seconds. A machine learning holographic microscope, the device is designed to identify if a person is carrying the disease. image: Heathrow Airport media

Airport testing to reduce quarantine time

The industry sees airport testing as a way for passengers to leave quarantine much earlier than the 14-day limit and could also help the travel industry get back on its feet after lockdown. France and Germany were some of the first countries to test arrivals from countries with a higher infection rate.

Heathrow Airport  UK has trialled three rapid points of care Covid-19 tests which may prevent the implementation of blanket quarantine rules and facilitate the recovery of the aviation sector. The trials were conducted on airport staff and currently, the findings are being evaluated.

Government ministers in the UK, however, have taken months to consider whether to support testing at its airports and are said to be looking at a two-test system to reduce the risk of someone who recently contracted the virus giving a “false negative” result. The system, if adopted, would need travellers to take two tests several days apart. Two negative results would mean someone would not have to quarantine for the full 14-day period.

The chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, Shai Weiss said testing was “essential” to help kick-start the economy. He said: “Without free and fast travel with the US, we won’t see a rebound of aviation and this will stall the economic recovery of the UK, which of course is already in recession.”

Travellers facing ‘quarantine roulette’

The boss of Heathrow said that the list of countries on the UK’s quarantine list changes every week, and said travellers to and from the UK were facing “quarantine roulette.” Scotland and Wales recently added to Greece to their ‘red lists’ after passengers returning from Zante showed a high level of infections. Over the last few days, the UK has been looking extremely closely at the situation in Portugal as rates in the country continue to soar.

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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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