Glasgow Airport ‘concerned’ amid reports of passengers cancelling over Omicron

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Glasgow Airport’s operator has said it is ‘hugely concerned’ at the Covid situation amid reports of passengers cancelling flights or not showing up.

AGS Airports, which owns Aberdeen and Glasgow as well as Southampton, said it remained at a “standstill”, with Glasgow Airport’s traffic falling to its lowest for nearly 50 years.

Brian McClean, its communications and sustainability director, told the House of Commons’ transport committee: "We have been at a standstill for 20 months – it’s hugely concerning.”

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Omicron problems

He said of the new international travel restrictions because of the Omicron variant of the virus: "It's another hammer blow to our recovery, to the passenger confidence that had slowly been returning.

"We are now hearing anecdotal evidence of passengers cancelling flights and passengers not turning up for flights.”

"We were at a point where we believed we were starting to regrow and rebuild, but this is a real worry for everyone.”

Job losses and debt

The setback follows a “huge redundancy programme” by AGS last year, which Mr McClean said had resulted in 3000 direct and indirect job losses.

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AGS said later these included 200 direct job losses at the airports.

Mr McClean told the committee the company had also taken on an “extreme amount of debt”.

He said Glasgow Airport – Scotland' s second busiest after Edinburgh – expected to handle only 1.9 million passengers this year – the lowest since 1973.

He said: "This has set us back decades.

"We have not had any period of stability over the last 20 months.

“We haven’t been able to get going – it’s been stop-start.

“It is quite difficult to tell how it is going to pan out.

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“As we come out of this, we are going to see fewer airlines with fewer aircraft, we are going to see greater consolidation.

“But there’s going to be the same number of airports, so that means our recovery is going to be intensely competitive, and that’s our concern.

“We are extremely worried about developments at the moment.”

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