The top boss at Edinburgh Airport has called for a robust testing regime for Covid-19 to be rolled out after passenger numbers dropped 91%.
Gordon Dewar, Edinburgh Airport CEO, has called on more testing to be carried out after the number of passengers travelling through his airport plummeted.
Only 785,000 people passed through Edinburgh Airport between April and September, down from 8.4 million during the same period in 2019.
In means the airport will likely fail to hit its target of 8.8 million passengers travelling through the site during 2020.
Airport bosses are in talks with the Scottish Government over testing and the possibility of a pilot scheme to evaluate risk mitigation and protection of public health.
Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “We have spent years building growth in our passengers, routes and infrastructure so to see all of that fall back is a concerning position for us to be in.
“Losing valued friends and colleagues has been difficult for us and we still face an uncertain future as we continue to grapple with this awful virus.
“Our own recovery will be difficult – we do not expect to break even until 2021 and we face tough choices to ensure we protect as many jobs as we can, and that will always be our main focus.”
He added: “Our business plans have been in a constant state of flux due to circumstances worsening, the introduction of and constant changes to quarantine, and of course all of this feeds into passenger confidence.
“We need to see a robust testing regime which will protect public health, provide reassurance and see travel and tourism begin to rebuild.”
In April a drive-through coronavirus testing centre was opened at the airport to test its key workers. It then reopened in June under the slogan “let’s all flysafe”.
A number of new measures were also brought in at the terminal, inlcuding a colour-coded one-way system, protective screens, hand sanitising stations and a trial of temperature-checking technology for passengers departing from Edinburgh.
Mr Dewar added: “It’s been an incredibly difficult time for all of us and the scale of the recovery challenge that faces us is now really hitting home.
“These figures highlight the huge impact Covid-19 has had and continues to have, something that is being felt across the travel and tourism industries and the economy as a whole.
“Scotland’s recovery will be protracted and tough and the aviation industry will face similar challenges to ensure it can reconnect the country to the world.
“There are still many unknowns which make that difficult to chart.”